Gadget lovers like to think that their favourite brands have their best interests in mind, especially when it comes to protecting personal data. However, in recent years, a number of serious breaches have shown that sometimes this is far from the truth.
The latest firm to fall foul of a serious security issue is Xiaomi, a Chinese tech manufacturer which is best known for its smartphones in the west. It also makes a range of other devices, yet Pocket Lint reports that it incurred the wrath of search giant Google after some of its smart home hardware started acting up in worrying ways.
This issue apparently arose after customers reported that their Nest Hub home automation systems were receiving footage from cameras which were clearly not connected directly to them. This meant that there was some kind of unwanted interconnectedness between devices operating in different households, potentially allowing live feeds to appear on devices in strangers’ homes.
Nest, which is part of the Google family of brands, has allowed integration with third party hardware for the past few months, but Xiaomi’s lapse in security has caused understandable concern. As a result, Google has placed a block on hardware from this manufacturer working in conjunction with Nest.
When this block will be removed, or whether Google will ever choose to remove it, remains to be seen. It certainly paints a worrying picture as to how smart home gadgets can potentially compromise the privacy of users, rather than preserving it.
This is not the first time that smart devices linked to home networks, forming part of the Internet of Things, have been brought to public attention for all the wrong reasons. It also suggests that it is better to buy a well-known brand, even if it costs a little more than the budget options out there.
The integration of smart devices in a domestic setting can be hugely helpful and convenient in many cases, as well as providing life-enhancing features for plenty of people in the UK. If you do spend the cash to get your home kitted out with Nest or an equivalent service, protecting it with gadget insurance is certainly worthwhile.
Lots of things can go wrong and leave essential devices out of action, including accidental damage. With multi gadget insurance, you can protect an entire home’s worth of devices and make a claim to cover repair or replacement costs as and when necessary.
Hopefully, the fact that this issue with Xiaomi gadgets has been highlighted so promptly will mean that the company will take greater care over network security in the future. Surveillance tech has become more affordable and accessible thanks to developments in recent years, but the reputation of this part of the industry could be tarnished if stories like this keep emerging.
Google’s swift action to block access to its services is also reassuring from a customer perspective, indicating that it takes these incidents very seriously.