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smart home device security
© Andrey Popov |

Buying new smart home tech? Take this step to keep creeps out

Whenever you buy a new smart device, the first thing to do is change the default password. Without this critical step, hackers could break into your doorbells, thermostats or security cameras. They could turn up the home’s temperature until it’s boiling — or scream death threats over a microphone.

Families are especially at risk. One hacker broke into a Mississippi family’s Ring security camera, then taunted their eight-year-old daughter with creepy music. Check your indoor cameras now to protect your family.

Bottom line: All connected tech has some inherent risk, including the devices we buy to keep us safe. By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to secure your smart home devices before hackers turn them against you.

It’s disturbingly easy to break into smart devices

All a digital burglar has to do is open up a public search engine called Shodan. This site lets strangers see through your unprotected devices. Anyone can find, let’s say, your unsecured baby monitors and spy on your children. Terrifying.

Hackers can even use your smart devices to steal your private information, including your:

  • Address.
  • Date of birth.
  • Usernames and passwords.
  • Email address.
  • Phone number.

With this information, a detailed profile of you can be put together. Scammers can use this info to launch elaborate phishing schemes — or steal your identity to commit crimes in your name. Here are three surefire signs someone stole your identity.

How to secure your smart home

Luckily, you can thwart digital burglars by following this three-step strategy:

  • Always change the default login on any device you install and connect to your network: Sticking with the factory password makes it easy for hackers to break in.
  • When you buy secondhand devices, make sure they’re properly reset to their factory settings: If you don’t, the previous owner could still access the device.
  • Use two-factor authentication: With 2FA, anyone trying to access the devices will have to enter a security code sent to your phone or through an authenticator app. This extra step makes it nearly impossible for hackers to break in. Here’s everything you need to know about 2FA.

Don’t forget to update your software, too. That way, you’ll stay up-to-date with the latest security patches. While you’re at it, update your PC, too.

Keep reading

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