Banking, social media, streaming movies, shopping - we have online accounts for everything. With a password to remember for each account, it's a good thing reset links get sent to our email addresses in case we forget. The bad news is that if hackers can get into your email account, then they can get into pretty much everything else.
Researchers from Bitdefender found that smart outlets can be a threat to the security of your email account. People use smart outlets to turn devices on and off, view energy efficiency, and control gadgets. Electrical outlets are just one of the many 'Internet of Things' products that allow people to control items in their homes remotely from their smartphones.
Bitdefender researchers wouldn't say which one, but a certain smart outlet on the market has poor security because the credentials you enter to set up the device, such as your home network, are encoded instead of encrypted. The outlet has its own Wi-Fi hotspot, but the username and password for that are also encoded instead of encrypted. Encoding is easy to undo because the information to decode is publicly available, whereas information for solving an encrypted system is secret. Because of this reason, the device is extremely easy to hack so strangers can take over the device and control gadgets inside your home.
To use the device, people install the outlet, download the app to their phone, and use their email address to register an account. You can set up your account to send you emails when the outlet does something, such as turning off the TV. So if your device has been hacked and you have this feature enabled, that's how they are able to access your email account.
A quick fix would be to disable this feature, but then you won't know what's going on with the devices in your home. A better solution is to find a good online security software. If your email was to be hacked, this software would notify you immediately.