As technology improves and internet access gets faster, it’s incredibly convenient to have smart home gadgets. Tap or click here to learn how to build a smart home on any budget. Devices like Amazon’s Echo or Google’s Home Hub can schedule your day, tell you about the weather and keep track of loved ones.
Even though they are made by two of the largest technology companies in the world, it doesn’t mean they can’t be hacked. A research group recently found that many older models are no longer secure.
Read on to find out what you should do and how to protect yourself from cybercriminals.
Here’s the backstory
U.K.-based consumer products website Which? conducted tests on several smart home gadgets and found that many can leave you vulnerable to hackers. The study highlights the importance of updating your technology regularly. You should always replace your gadgets when they become too old for software updates.
One of the devices the study found to be vulnerable is Google Nest’s Hello. The video doorbell is similar to Ring gadgets and lets you see who is at the front door through an app.
The website’s hackers managed to launch a Denial of Service attack against an older model. This allowed them to disable the recording function, which criminals can do before approaching your home.
Another popular gadget that is exploitable is Amazon’s Echo. The hackers used a pre-existing vulnerability to break into a first-generation Echo to give themselves remote control access over the device. You wouldn’t even know it, but the hackers can listen to your conversations.
Do you have smart plugs in your home? The study points out that hackers can breach the Wemo Insight smart plug’s security. That doesn’t sound so bad, but it becomes scary when you realize that the hacker could take control of whatever was connected to the smart plug.
What you can do about it
You must update all your gadgets regularly when a software patch is available. The updates often add new features, but most importantly, it patches any security vulnerabilities. When devices stop receiving updates, it’s time to replace them.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe:
- Go through your gadgets at least twice a year and determine which ones might be outdated. Then, either update their software or get rid of them. If you have old Echo devices, it might be time for a new one. Tap or click here to check out newer models.
- Set a schedule to check for software updates for gadgets you still use regularly. Many devices like Apple’s iPhone can automatically check for updates.
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