How to use smart health products in a safe way


Smart health home products, gadgets and smart toys are becoming increasingly popular. Very nice of course and often these products make life a lot easier and more interesting.How to use smart health products in a safe way?

Yet there is a downside to this story. Where we often choose smart devices for design and function, we often forget security and privacy for convenience. A smart product is always smart health connected to something, which means there is a possibility that people can watch or otherwise violate your safety and privacy.

Data is the new gold. It’s not for nothing that today’s most successful companies are wholesalers of data. Think of social platforms such as Facebook, but also companies such as Google and Amazon. Our digital security is still not very high on the agenda in The Hague. In Germany, the authorities are already much stricter with regard to privacy violations and inadequate security, such as the recent one forbidden children’s smartwatches with GPS. In this article we look at the safe use of smart products. How do you know for sure whether you are dealing with a safe product? And is your privacy not being violated?

Watch in the living room with an internet camera

Recently there was a woman in the news who had bought a cheap internet camera. Suddenly a strange voice from the camera speaker started talking to her. The woman had not changed the default password of the camera, making it a piece of cake to watch in her living room. Popular search engines make it very easy to find cameras with poor security, which means that virtually anyone can look into people’s homes and control the camera without any knowledge. Although the manual stated that the woman was wise to change the password, she did not do this.

Privacy violation with children’s toys

You should not only pay attention to the security of a product, but also to violate privacy. A good example of smart children’s toys is the Hello Barbie. Children can talk to this smart Barbie, where a simple conversation can be conducted. However, the problem lies with the company that has supplied and manages the voice recognition software. All sentences and words that the child has said to Hello Barbie are forwarded to the company’s servers.

The privacy policy states that they may store, use, edit, modify and analyze the data to improve the voice recognition software. However, data may also be shared with third parties. Your child therefore not only works on improving the software, but the sentences and conversations that the child has with Hello Barbie are resold from company to company. I can imagine that this is not what you want for your child. What exactly is the product, the smart toy or your child? Who knows where this data ends up?

No certification for safe gadgets

The problem is that there are no clear rules that smart products must adhere to. This makes it difficult to know whether a product has good security or treats your privacy with respect. The only way to find out is to do research yourself. Smarthome Magazine gives you a hand. We give tips that you should pay attention to when it comes to a smart product with regard to safety and privacy.

Tips for the safety of a smart device

First, tips for using a smart product safely.

  1. Good password
    Standard passwords for a certain product can be found directly on the internet. Therefore, first change the default password before you start using the product. A password can always leak out. Therefore, change the password regularly. Also change the default username.
  2. Update the software
    The next step is to update the software. Make sure the smart product always has the latest updates to close any security gaps.
  3. Check the security and privacy settings
    A smart product often has the option to adjust the security and privacy settings. Ensure that no one else has access to the smart product. Always switch off the collection and sharing of data when this is not necessary for the operation of the product.

In addition to the product itself, you can also take other safety measures. Always be careful on a public WiFi connection, as it is a piece of cake for someone else to watch with you. You should also always keep the health home network up-to-date with the latest updates and ensure good security there too. Also look critically at yourself how you use a smart product. A IP camera places in the bathroom, children’s room or bedroom may not be that smart, especially in combination with weak security. You don’t want anyone on the other side of the world to experience your bedroom adventures live. Who knows where those images ultimately end up. Therefore always turn the product off when it is not being used.

Tips for protecting your privacy with a smart device

In addition to security, your privacy is also very important. What should you pay attention to when protecting your privacy?

  1. Read the privacy policy
    The first step to take is to look at the privacy policy of the smart product. What data does the company collect from you with the smart product? You can find the privacy policy and general terms and conditions in the manual or on the manufacturer’s website. Be extra alert when a product stores personal or location data. Ask yourself if this is necessary for the operation of the product. Even more important is to see what the company does with the collected data. Where is the data stored? Who has access to your data? Is the data encrypted? Can you have this data deleted? Does the manufacturer share your data with third parties?
  2. Check the security and privacy settings
    Look closely at the settings of the product. Change the default password and username. Always switch off the collection and sharing of data when this is not necessary for the operation of the product.
  3. Search the internet for the company and the product
    A company’s reputation is quickly broken with a defective product. Totally on the internet. Therefore always check on the internet how the company is known behind the smart product. This way you quickly find out whether a product can be used safely or whether the company does not take it so closely with security and privacy.

Do you get a smart product under the Christmas tree? Follow the tips above to use the product safely. Can the tips above not be used in combination with the smart product? Then ask yourself if you want to use the product. Be critical for your own safety and the preservation of your privacy. Do this not only with yourself, but also with gifts that you give to others. You can always exchange a product.

oomaI have nothing to hide?

You may find the above story just plain stupid. That is of course your right. The argument that you have nothing to hide just doesn’t hold. You don’t have a front door that can be locked in your house? I assume you sometimes close your curtains. Imagine that you would live in a glass house, where the entire neighborhood can watch what you are doing all day. Not a nice idea right? Why would you do it with your digital security and privacy? That you do not see something does not mean that it is not there. Therefore make sure that your digital security is equipped with a good lock.

Smart health home products, gadgets and smart toys are fantastic products that can enrich our lives. However, consider the risks related to security and possible breaches of privacy. Investigate for yourself whether a product can be used safely. Not only with gifts you receive, but also with gifts you give.


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