Is Your Home Hackable?


More and more Internet-enabled devices are coming into our homes, but these gizmos may bring danger with them. Most consumers do not see these devices as risky, but the truth is, items such as Internet-connected baby monitors, Wi-Fi connected toys, cars with infotainment systems and medical supplies can all be hacked.

For instance, there was an issue recently that allowed hackers to get into the infotainment system of Jeep Cherokees, and through that, could remotely turn on wiper blades, air conditioning and raise the radio volume. There was later a patch released to defeat this hack.

One notable hacking incident having to do with toys comes with the Hello Barbie. This toy is Wi-Fi enabled and has a microphone that records children, and then responds. However, through this, it is easy for hackers to use the toy as a potential eavesdropping device and access account access.

Back in 2013, more than 100,000 "smart" gadgets were part of a huge spam email campaign. More than 750,000 junk messages were sent out, and these messages compromised computers, smart TVs and home routers. The malware that came from this campaign installed itself on smart TVs and refrigerators, and it became possible for the hackers to access personal information stored on these appliances including credit card numbers.

When hacked, these devices can act as a Trojan horse that will allow hackers access to other devices in the home, a user's identity or even financial accounts. Fortunately, there are ways that you can enjoy these items and still protect yourself.

Take Steps to Protect Your Home From Hackers

The first thing that you will want to do to protect your home is to ensure that your Wi-Fi routers are as secure as possible. A strong password is necessary, and a user should ensure that their firmware, which is software that powers these devices, are updated regularly. Most routers are updated remotely by Internet providers, but it's always a good idea to check.

The same updates should be done to any device that connects to the router, such as mobile phones, tablets and computers. In other words, if your device says an update is available, it's in your best interest to update it.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

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