Surprisingly Hackable IoT Devices

31 Mar

If you are currently deeply enfolded in the convenience of connected IoT (Internet of Things) devices in the home, you’re possibly not prone to thinking about considering the risks that they can pose.

Just as the IT infrastructure in your office can be hacked, so to can your home IoT devices be attacked by the very same cybercriminals. Your high tech, connected vacuum cleaner or baby monitor, your smart window dressings or home security system, these smart devices can all be used to steal your personal information or even spy on you via the embedded device cameras.

At the RSA Conference this year, a variety of surprisingly hackable IoT devices were thrown into the spotlight, making more than just a few of the onlookers a bit uncomfortable.  And yes, you guessed it; a baby monitor and vacuum cleaner made the list!

Why are connected IoT Devices so Hackable?

The risk starts when a device connects to your network. All networks have vulnerabilities and it just takes a clever cybercriminal to hack into your device and use it for all manner of evils. Your device could start listening to you and capture this information for a criminal. The camera can be used to determine whether or not you are in the home or even see where you hide precious items. You could even find that your entire network gets jammed up and a hacker demands a sum of money to return your life (and devices) back to normal. The options are aplenty!

Which IoT Devices are the Most Hackable?

When you think of IoT, it’s likely that your mind immediately goes to your internet-powered devices such as your laptop, mobile phone, tablet and similar, but the reality is that IoT is so much more than just these devices. Below are a handful of IoT devices you might never consider could be used to hack into your personal information.

  • Car remote – it can be hacked, jammed, cloned, and used to steal your car;
  • A built-in vehicle GPS system – this can unlock your car, locate your car, and even drive your car;
  • CCTV cameras – can be used to gather sensitive info in offices and homes such as passwords on computer accounts and the PIN for the alarm system;
  • Wireless printers – hackers can get access to all documents printed and scanned on the device;
  • Smart televisions – built-in cameras can be used to spy on the home and linked accounts can be accessed;
  • Smart fridges – can be used to gather data on family emails via the linked device camera.

But what does this all mean? The list above contains so many items that most of us take for granted. Inter-connected devices that simplify our lives. Does it mean that we have to disconnect all our convenient smart home devices and revert back to a DIY era or the “stone age” again? No, it certainly doesn’t. What it means is that you have to be safe while using these devices.

How to ensure that your IoT devices are safe

Instead of retiring your IoT devices prematurely, start working on having a more aware and cautious approach to using your connected devices. Here are a few things that you can implement to ensure that your IoT devices are providing you with the conveniences they promise, without the threats and risks.

  • Regularly update your devices to the latest version of software.
  • Install security patches and fixes as soon as they are released.
  • Research the various security risks that each of your connected devices presents (Google is great for this).
  • Make sure that your network username and password are secure and different from any other passwords. Be sure to change them often.
  • Don’t keep sensitive data stored on any connected devices. If you have info and data you would like to save, back it up to the cloud.

As a responsible IoT device owner, there is every reason to believe that you can avoid the risks associated with such convenience. You know what they say though…the cost of IoT convenience is your privacy!

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