While more and more material things are becoming ‘smart’ and interconnected to make life more convenient for us, what many people don’t know, is that it is also making it easier for hackers to gain access to our personal information too. This leaves us very vulnerable without us even realising.
We all know that computers and phones can be hacked, we’ve all heard the stories, but what many of us don’t know is how far cyber-attacks can actually go.
To help you protect your family and home from hackers, here are 12 household items that you didn’t know could be hacked.
1. Security Cameras
It may seem quite ironic that the item you buy to make your house more secure can be a vulnerability, but it’s true, and security cameras are actually among one of the most easily hacked items too. Why? Because people do not have strong passwords and they don’t change them regularly enough.
2. Smart TVs
More and more households are buying smart TVs these days and this requires you to connect to the internet to use apps like Netflix. You might not think that hackers can do much with a TV, but you would be very wrong. Smart TVs are just like big iPhones, they have cameras that can be hacked to check if you’re home, many apps that may contain your payment information so that they can order from them, and they even have other connected devices that can become compromised too.
3. Voice-activated Speakers
Do you have an Alexa or Echo? Although extremely convenient and a fun gadget to add to any home, these items can be hacked leaving your home vulnerable. If you use the calendar function or make payments via your speakers or if it is connected to your home security system, hackers can know when you’ll be on holiday, take your credit card or bank account information or turn off your security system. Make sure to limit the information you put into your speakers and always unplug it when you’re away on holiday.
Yes, you heard us right, your fridge can be your worst enemy when it comes to security as well as your diet! If you have connected your smart fridge to the WI-FI, it can be hacked and used to access other devices or to get your Google login details, so keep your password strong and change it regularly!
5. Thermostats and Electric Metres
Cost-effective smart thermostats and electric metres can be set up to automatically adjust according to the time of day and via internet commands but they ask for no passwords when being accessed over the internet. This leaves them vulnerable to being hacked where a potential thief can eavesdrop on your home and know when you are out!
6. Baby Monitors
Baby monitors are often connected to your WI-FI and even your mobile app so they are very vulnerable to being hacked. Many parents don’t change the default password or implement the recommended security features and then they make the device visible to their WI-FI network which allows a hacker to access the speaker and camera and watch you any time of day.
Find out how to keep your baby monitor safe!
7. Electronic Picture Frames
They may be a great gift but hackers like them too! If compromised, electronic picture frames can be used to tell a thief the comings and goings in your household via the frame’s ambient light sensors.
8. Portable Game Consoles
All modern game consoles are protected these days, so if you connect to your WI-FI and change the password regularly, these won’t be an issue. It is the older models, such as the original Nintendo DS, that pose problems. Although nostalgic items, these devices don’t always connect to your WI-FI securely so you’ll need a very strong password that is regularly changed for them to be secure to play.
9. Bathroom Scales
You already hate this item anyway and now you’ve learnt that it can be hacked?! It’s true, your smart scales, if connected to your WI-FI, can be compromised. Although this item only sends data to the manufacturer’s website, it’s still your data and it should be kept private.
Even if you don’t have one of those smart printers that can order themselves new ink when they run out, other printers can be hacked and used to cause you problems. Whether it’s stealing your card information, installing a malicious code that transfers to your laptop, or gaining access to information that you’ve previously scanned, your printer can be a gateway into your personal life without you even realising.
11. Home WI-FI Routers
One of the most vulnerable items you will have in your household is your home WI-FI router, the hub in which every single electronic device you own in your house is connected. If you have a weak password or didn’t even change the default one that you were given, your box can be hacked and used to control your whole network. A hacker can steal your credit information, empty your bank account, steal your identity, watch you to see when you leave your home, and even send all your devices malicious viruses that can infect them and render them useless.
12. Garage Door Openers
If you have a smart garage door, a hacker could gain access to your information where they can find out your daily habits (what time you leave and return from work) and they can even gain access to your house.
We didn’t write this article to scare you, we just wanted to make you aware of how may everyday items that are connected to the internet can be hacked and how serious the consequences can be.
A lot of these items can be used as a gateway to access your whole network, so keep your home, your family, and your personal information as safe as it can be by using strong passwords and changing them regularly (every 3-6 months).
That’s all it takes so surely the effort is worth it!
What we can do for you:
RGM Security offers a wide range of security services so if you need advice on how to stay as secure as you can be, please don’t hesitate to contact us!