How to keep hackers away from your home devices
Be cyber secure
October 17, 2017
Traditionally, the three most often-used words in real estate have been: Location, Location, Location. These days, the three most important words we hear from homeowners are: Security, Security, Security.
And rightly so. Not only do we need to be aware of securing our home against intruders, but also, we need to protect against cyber attacks.
Most homeowners understand the first level of security for their home: perimeter protection. This includes sirens, security lighting, motion controls, cameras and outdoor alarm and security monitoring. However, it's essential to research the quality of a perimeter protection system.
Many companies are pushing plug-and-play wireless consumer home security products, which appear to cover this first level of protection, but, in reality, leave multiple cyber doors wide open to threats, data mining and hackers.
You can hardly turn on the radio or television without another product popping up, boasting the latest and greatest out-of-the-box wireless, cloud, AP-based devices, all at incredibly affordable prices. These trending products look so elegant, and so simple a child can operate them. Just plug them in, load the app on your phone or laptop, and suddenly you can see and talk to whomever comes to the front door. You can remotely open the doggie door, or you can arm and disarm your security system through voice control. You can monitor your interior and exterior with "stick up" cameras via your smart phone, iPad, and smart TV. The products seem helpful, but they can be very harmful if they end up in the hands of hackers.
In the ever-increasing "Do It Yourself" world we live in (or the "Do It For Me" world of hiring a handyman or neighborhood kid to install products), home security now faces new, very serious issues.
Every one of these unregulated, over-the-counter devices designed to make your home safer are automated computer programs (Bots). Cyber thieves and profiteers incessantly search for these kind of unencrypted, in-home, electronic consumer devices.
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Once they easily gain access, they have access to everything you do, say, see and hear, as well as any data and private information stored on the devices (or even in the cloud). They can remotely insert data-collecting software, they can view your live camera feeds or record and sell your camera images over the dark web — even if you think your camera is off. They can insert viruses or other software that can latch onto all of your home's unsecured devices, which often contain personal and financial information. In a world where these consumer products are so rapidly engineered, developed and installed in so many homes, cyber security is becoming a grave concern.
"Once hackers gain access to devices, the next step is infection of the device," states Mahendra Ramsinghani, the founder of Secure Octane, a Silicon Valley based cybersecurity seed fund, in a June 2016 Tech Crunch article. "The last step is monetization. Five distinct DDoS malware families targeting Telnet-enabled IoT devices have been invented. Your DVRs, smart TVs, refrigerators, baby monitor cameras and printers have already been hacked and used as a botnet — you just don't know it."
Safeguard Your Home
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to protect your home devices from cyber threats. Here are some guidelines.
- Be mindful of the wireless technology you bring into your home. If there is an "app for that," it's now tied to your personal phone and the cloud, which can be hacked.
- Get help from a trusted, secure IT professional in setting up security, and password-protect all of your home's "smart" devices.
- Turn off all of your consumer devices when you go to sleep at night; it's harder to hack electronics when they are powered down.
- Change passwords weekly. Each network and device should have a different password.
- Always install the latest operating system updates, and use antivirus software. And, remain on guard for suspicious websites that may be serving malware.
- Look into CUJO. This device plugs directly into your home's router and can protect your entire home's wireless network from unwanted intruders.
- The most secure route is always a wired home network (not wireless), with a secure encrypted server connected to wired IP system devices, which stay in the home. Visit this website for this full-system approach.
With a little forethought and research, you can be part of the solution in protecting you and your family from hackers.
Adaptive Design Group Inc.
6415 N. Business Park Road, Suite K, Park City
Contact Glenn Merlin Johnson at: 435.602.5800 ext. 103
2150 Park Place, Suite 100, El Segundo, CA
5 Mount Royal Ave. Suite 220, Marlborough, MA