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The Most Common Smart Tech Threats in Our Homes and Businesses

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Smart tech threats and the Internet of Things (IoT) have a downside.

We are becoming more reliant on the Internet and our phones. But is it going too far? Do we need Internet-accessible refrigerators? How much do you need to use your phone to turn off the lights? What exactly is your Alexa device overhearing? The growing popularity of smart devices just may be a stupid decision. Why? They can put your whole network security in jeopardy. 

The threat of the Internet of Things and Smart Tech Devices.

When you buy a hot new gadget, you’re not likely to think how it might be a security threat. You don’t associate your new Roomba with the security of your home WiFi network. But every one of these smart devices gives cybercriminals a window into your network. It may not be an open window, but it’s a way that you are not paying attention to.  

Since the Pandemic, hacks have been on the rise. The ​​Cyber Center for Security and Analytics Department of the University of Texas: San Antonio has discovered some startling trends. Their tracking of cyber traffic is logging hundreds if not thousands of undetected hacks. They also report that attacks on medical equipment are on the rise. 

All of these smart devices may be Internet-accessible for a simple function. Your device may only need the Internet to turn on and off, or to play music or sync with your virtual assistant. They may only need to download updates. But by being internet-accessible it can provide an invitation for hackers to hack a device with only a limited ability to defend itself. 

As we evolve, so do crimes. Here’s the most commonly hacked Smart technology and what it could mean for your cyber safety. 

Smart cameras

Nanny cams have saved lives and ruined countless cheater’s relationships. A smart camera seems like a great way to keep an eye on your home when you’re not around. But it also is possible for these cameras to be hacked. There’s a market for footage of your home. 

Imagine you get a smart camera to protect your possessions from burglars only to find international peeping toms watching your most intimate or embarrassing moments. The market for this private footage does incentivize hackers to hack these devices. 

Swatting is also a new type of cyber attack. Hackers hack into your smart camera and then call SWAT or emergency responders and then watch the aftermath, or worse, stream it online. 

Virtual assistants

Considering how much information Amazon tracks from your Alexa device it’s not surprising that these devices might be hack-worthy. Not to mention, they can be synced to your lights, thermostat, Amazon account, and door locks; they can be a golden ticket into your home network. 

This video shows how easy it is to hack one of these devices using a laser. So yes, while these devices do have big names like Amazon and Google backing them up it doesn’t mean that they are foolproof.

Smart locks

Smart locks are growing in popularity as more people are using Airbnb to supplement their housing costs. It’s also a good way to manage home security from your device. But, in the same way a prowler might walk the neighborhood checking locks, hackers can drive around a neighborhood with a laptop to hack your locks. 

Given you may not even know the security vulnerabilities of these smart locks is another way enterprising cybercriminals can take advantage of you feeling secure but then pulling the rug out from under you. A truly gifted hacker can use social media or even your other devices to see when you’re not home once they have the ability to open your locks. 

Smart light bulbs 

We did a deep dive into how smart light bulbs are a security threat. But even beyond that, when you toss them, hackers can use the flash drive on the device to get access to some of your passwords. This news segment shows just how easily and comprehensively hackers can get personal information off old smart light bulbs and discarded tech. Not to mention all the other home tech they can hack.

Smart TVs

Smart TVs are also growing in popularity. We sync up our televisions to so many streaming accounts and other devices. But these can all increase your risk. After all, how smart do you need your television to be? Plus, if your television is synced to any accounts that have payment or personal information, this info can also be at risk.  

Given their prominence in your home, televisions with cameras and microphones can capture a lot of personal moments. This can draw more cyber creeps who want to sell footage of your intimate moments. The trick is to look for televisions that aren’t that smart. And also limit how accessible you make them to the Internet. 

Smart solutions to smart tech threats

Some vital keys to your cyber safety include the following:

  • Keep device firmware and software up-to-date
  • Disable Universal Plug-n-Play when it’s not needed
  • Keep your passwords safe and utilize two-factor authentication as often as possible
  • Change any default names and passwords on devices
  • Opt-out of sharing information for advertising or “data collection” to help keep any open channels closed

Smart Tech is growing in popularity but it’s worth questioning if the value it provides is worth the security risk. If the cameras to provide security eliminate your privacy and the locks to make you feel safer make it easier to be burgled then they’ve failed.

If proper cybersecurity would require you to have it off for most of the time or if the risk is too great, is it worth having this device at all? These are important questions to ask before you get sucked into the excitement of some new gadget because with every new portal into the Internet, there’s a window into your home network. Shop responsibly.

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