In our increasingly advanced technical world, more and more people are beginning to rely on and trust their smart devices for many different uses. They sure have their conveniences. At the same time, those conveniences may put us at a disadvantage, especially when it comes to the security of said “smart” gadgets.
Smart devices are also known as Internet of Things (IoT) connected gadgets and if not fully secured, can be accessed by anyone. As if this isn’t a scary enough notion, there is a website that not only encourages people to access their smart devices to make sure they're functioning properly, but makes it easy for cybercriminals to hack into them as well.
We’re talking about the search engine Shodan. (Note: You may not like everything on this site or find some images disturbing).
Since its inception in 2013, Shodan’s search engine encourages its users to scan the web in search of live feeds from web cams, security cameras, even routers.
The site includes a gallery of screenshots showing people’s yards, children’s bedrooms, people sitting in bars, walking down the street, playing in parks, sitting in classrooms. They even have live footage of bank vaults.
You may be thinking, how is it even legal? Shodan’s specialty is locating vulnerable cameras that use the Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) and have no password in place to protect the feed.
This is also considered a hacker’s playground. Shodan allows anyone access to people’s devices and their lives with no protection. Not only can they see what you’re doing, they know how to infiltrate all your devices and take control, leaving you completely vulnerable and not even knowing your privacy has been violated until it’s too late.
What is being done about it?
The other concern is regulation. The more popular these devices are becoming, the more access cybercriminals have to our daily lives.
Manufacturers don’t seem to be making much of an effort in securing devices with easily accessible default passwords. Even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been made aware of the situation and has implored these manufacturing companies to enforce better security on product performance.
But it’s not enough, it’s never enough. Until there are tighter security measures put in place where hackers can't find a workaround, and sites like Shodan go away for good, we’re pretty much on our own to protect ourselves and our families.
The best way around this is when you install a security camera or router in your home, you have to be sure to change the default password if possible. Sites such as Shodan can easily access default passwords set up for IoT devices.
Also, prior to installing any product that connects to your home network, or transmits a signal, it's important to research the gadget's security settings. You should always search online to see if any security issues have been reported, or vulnerabilities have been found in said device. If so, return it and find something more secure or go without it until the product improves.