Being able to control your thermostat or see who’s knocking on your front door from a hundred miles away from home isn’t just cool; it’s incredibly handy. However, the network of these and other devices – often called the Internet of Things (IoT) – poses a huge security risk to their users. How?
Devices such as smart TVs, hot water heaters, refrigerators, pet feeders, etc., are designed to be easy to install and use by consumers. In order to keep costs at a minimum, manufacturers tend to develop their IoT devices without stringent security capabilities making them prime targets for hackers to exploit. These devices often come with factory installed usernames and passwords which should be changed by the consumer but often are not. Criminals can gain access to the device and then use it as a gateway to deeper levels of your network where more sensitive data (i.e. banking information) is stored.
Once inside your network, criminals can look at your browser cache and get to your saved passwords for bank accounts, social media, cloud accounts and even your work files. Negligence from not securing your IoT devices and your network with proper passwords could possibly lead to identity theft, bank fraud and a world of headaches and frustration.
While you may not be able to completely secure these easily hackable connected devices, you can add a layer of protection by ensuring that your home network is nailed down and protected with a good, complex password.