Evaluating Privacy and Security Risks of Your Digital Piano

Evaluating Privacy and Security Risks of Your Digital Piano


Acoustic pianos are expensive. It is difficult for families with limited resources to purchase one. However, the affordability of digital pianos has opened new possibilities. Now families can use digital devices to introduce their children to piano playing. Also, as the quality and features of the products increase, more professional musicians are using digital pianos for composition. But digital pianos come with components and features that can pose security risks. In this article, we look into these innovative musical devices and figure out the risk factors to your privacy and security.


How Digital Pianos Work

Digital pianos try to emulate the sound of acoustic pianos using 88 keys, sensors, onboard microcomputers, and speakers. More advanced models have microphones, internet connectivity, peripheral device support, and connected apps.

When you press a digital piano key, the sensor underneath the key sends a signal to the microcomputer on the device. The microcomputer interprets the key and creates the electronic response that can produce the sound equivalent to an acoustic piano.

Sensors play an essential role in determining touch velocity. Digital pianos use various types of sensors like electromechanical or optical sensors. Devices with better velocity sensitivity can follow the hard and soft touches on the keys more closely to produce louder and softer notes. Cheaper devices with less sensitivity might provide the same sound level for all touches resulting in a more monotonous tone.

A digital piano might have single or multiple speakers. Speakers output the onboard computer's electronic impulse as sound. The quality of the speakers is important. Higher-quality speakers have higher acoustic properties.

Digital pianos can have built-in microphones for recording voice. It can have external microphone connectors. Some devices might have built-in storage or memory to allow on-device recording.

Today digital piano manufacturers provide additional features to make their devices more enticing. Internet connectivity and smart apps are used for on-demand lessons. These devices are often connectable to Android and iOS devices.


Privacy and Security Risks

The microcomputers and internet connectivity make digital pianos susceptible to cyberattacks. Digital pianos can be hacked, just like Google Home or Amazon Echo devices. Here are some of the issues that might be a threat to your device:

Vulnerabilities: The microcomputers inside digital pianos do not have the same level of computing and memory power as desktop or laptop computers. They run on firmware. The firmware does not have the security features of a computer’s operating system. It opens up opportunities for hackers to take advantage of firmware vulnerabilities.

Malware Attacks: Malware can infect firmware. Cybercriminals have used malware to infect small internet of things (IoT) devices that have low computing power, like digital pianos. So, digital pianos are vulnerable to similar malware attacks.

Information Theft: Digital piano companies use internet connectivity to sell lessons and smart app features. Customers are entering their personal information to subscribe to these services. It opens a door for cybercriminals to steal confidential user information.

Device Misconfiguration: Digital pianos can have a lot of settings. For an average user, understanding all the settings might be overwhelming. So, users might choose to turn off features that can be critical for safety, especially for devices that connect to the internet. For example, if hackers gain control of your digital piano, they can use the microphone feature to turn it into a surveillance device.


Take Preventive Measures to Secure Your Digital Piano 

Modern digital pianos are smart devices. Smart technology makes these devices easy to use but makes them vulnerable to cyberattacks. But you can take a few security steps to stay safe:

  • Password Hygiene: Use strong and unique passwords for your digital piano and connected apps. The password should be different from anything else you use on other accounts. Unique passwords will ensure that even if hackers get your password on the device, they will not be able to access your other personal accounts.
  • Regular Firmware Updates: Consult your digital piano manual and learn how to keep the firmware updated for your device. Manufacturers update the firmware when they find vulnerabilities. The latest firmware decreases your chances of getting hacked.
  • Connectivity Vigilance: If you are using the connected features of your device, ensure that you are connecting to secure networks. For example, if you are a musician who uses public WiFi during stage performances to connect your digital piano, you increase the risk of malware infection.

The above preventive measures will help you safely use your digital piano and get the most out of your device.



Jani Podlesny

Head of Engineering

I am focusing on Data Architecture and Analytics for Management Consulting across EMEA and the US. For my passion in Data Profiling & Privacy I am doing a PhD research at the Hasso- Plattner- Institute. 

Berlin Lab

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