Taiwanese people were surprised to see images of their homes during the earthquake appear on social media. Their security cameras were Made in China…

Taiwanese people were surprised to see images of their homes during the earthquake appear on social media. Their security cameras were Made in China…
Taiwanese people were surprised to see images of their homes during the earthquake appear on social media. Their security cameras were Made in China…

Atlantico: After the earthquakes that hit Taiwan in April, an island resident discovered that photos of her house were on a Chinese social network. The images would come from its own surveillance camera made in China. Is this revelation worrying for the protection of our data?

Fabrice Epelboin: The case of this resident in Taiwan is indeed worrying, but this situation is absolutely not new. This is not a unique and isolated case. There are hundreds of stories like this that have occurred over the past ten years. It is always good to remember that the connected objects that we install at home are connected to the Internet. These tools and devices must be secure. Usually they are not. So it’s up to you to do it. If you haven’t taken care of it yet, this kind of incident can happen. It is therefore important to act, to configure your device, to ensure that our data is not exposed.

As the case of Taiwan illustrates, does the weak protection provided by Chinese devices demonstrate a desire for large-scale espionage on the part of the country?

In reality, the situation also applies to American devices. This desire or attempts to spy via cameras concerns the Chinese and the Americans. China applies similar methods to the NSA. For more than ten years now, elements documented by journalistic investigations have demonstrated that the NSA has interfered and is attempting to interfere absolutely everywhere it can, including on American equipment which serves as a relay for carrying out surveillance missions. So frankly, the Chinese need to do the same thing.

China often uses its soft power to try to extend its influence over Taiwan? But have we now reached a milestone with China’s use of technology to extend its influence over Taiwan?

This story in Taiwan will not surprise cyber security experts.

China is trying to exercise soft power over Taiwan, there is no reason for them to deprive themselves of it. They now have the ability to exercise their influence, particularly through interference on social networks. This influence extends to the American continent and now to Europe, even if it is very recent. Taiwan is at the heart of their centers of influence and concerns. The case of this resident in Taiwan and her misadventure demonstrates this

What are the lessons to learn about the potential espionage risks posed by connected devices?

It is important to emphasize that connected objects, smartphones, webcams, surveillance cameras and a whole bunch of other connected gadgets are first and foremost computers. If you use or bring a computer into your home or business, it is up to you to ask yourself the question of security. For example, if you use a major brand, you delegate this security to the major brand. If you bring Apple connected objects into your home, security will then be in the hands of Apple, although you are also responsible.

On the other hand, if you buy a connected camera online, for $10 on AliExpress, then you are entirely responsible for security. It is not possible to delegate security to an obscure Chinese manufacturer who struggles to transmit the technical characteristics of the machine that is selling to me. You must therefore be careful when using this type of object and ensure the protection of your data.

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