While these connected devices are great at helping us connect and keep our homes safe, this technology could be turned against us by a nosy cybercriminal.
There are a few ways that a scammer could get access to your devices’ camera or microphone. They could use a phishing email or another social engineering scam to trick you into downloading a virus, giving them control over these devices. Or they might go right through the “front door” and use your username and password to access some of these connected home monitoring devices from a website or application where they are managed. Once connected, a lot of damage can be done by these miscreants. They may eavesdrop on your conversations or activity, opening an opportunity for blackmail. They may toy with their victims with harassing messages and conversations. Or they could use the device itself to call emergency services, triggering law enforcement to act, creating a dangerous situation for the innocent homeowner.
As always, there are ways we can protect ourselves!
COVER UP YOUR WEBCAM WHEN NOT IN USE.
If you’ve got a device with a connected webcam, make sure it is protected when not in use. There are inexpensive covers that may be purchased online or try sticking a piece of electrical tape over the camera!
WATCH OUT FOR PHISHING EMAILS
The majority of compromised cameras and microphones are due to exploited vulnerabilities delivered by a virus through a malicious link. Be on guard for phishing email or malicious webpages. Also, make sure your systems are up to date with security updates and has sufficient anti-virus protection.
UPDATE YOUR PASSWORDS
Many of the smart devices we use around our homes are managed through one convenient account. Cybercriminals exploit our poor and reused passwords and break into our accounts to control these devices. Make sure you set up these accounts with strong and unique passwords that you don’t use on any other account. And while you’re at it, set up two-factor authentication to provide an extra layer of protection.
These connected devices are great, and generally shouldn’t be feared, as long as we take the time to add a few simple protections.