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Your appliances could be spying on you

Tuesday - 8/20/2013, 7:11am  ET

Dryer (getty)
Your dryer could be doing more than laundry, according to a Credit.com report.(Photo by Eli Meir Kaplan/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON - Since Edward Snowden leaked details of government surveillance of telephone records, Americans' privacy concerns have been heightened.

But the National Security Agency checking phone records is one thing; people's privacy could also be compromised closer to home. Credit.com lists nine household appliances that could be used to spy on you.

Any device that gathers data on use and is connected to the Internet can be used to spy on the user. Nowadays, some dishwashers, clothes dryers and even toasters can be connected to the Internet. That makes it easier for manufacturers to troubleshoot, but all create a potential hacking path.

The nine household items that could potentially spy on you, according to Credit.com, include:

  1. TV
  2. cable box
  3. dishwasher, clothes dryer, toaster, clock radio and remote control
  4. lights
  5. heat and A/C
  6. security alarms
  7. insulin pumps and pacemakers
  8. smartphones
  9. tablet and computer

A computer security firm recently demonstrated how it could install malware on a TV and reap personal data.

Laptops, smartphones and even home security systems could be vulnerable. Consider the recent incident in Houston when hackers took control of a baby room's monitor and used it to make lewd comments to a sleeping child.

To thwart hackers, CTV News recommends that you turn on security features during installation. Make strong passwords, mixing symbols and upper- and lower-case letters, and keep anti-virus programs up to date.

Other tips to improve online passwords include making it unique and lying on password reset questions. To read more about password tips, click here.

You can simply cover a laptop's webcam lens with a Post-It note.

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