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  • Geebo 8:04 am on October 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , internet of things/, , , ,   

    Smart home camera hacked in baby’s room 

    Smart home camera hacked in baby's room

    A California CEO has written a column for The Mercury News where he relays the tale about how his smart home camera system was hacked. It is quite a rather harrowing tale as the digital vandals used the speaker on the camera in the baby’s room to harass the family’s nanny. The anonymous voice on the other end of the camera was using profanity and even threatened to come take the baby at one point. It wasn’t until all the cameras were disconnected did the harassment stop. The father later found out that this is a fairly common occurrence with internet-connected cameras, specifically the brand that he was using.

    The father then tried contacting the technical support arm of the corporation that manufactures the cameras and was on hold for over an hour. He also received emails that continued to push the idea of two-factor authentication to keep out would-be pranksters. The father was not satisfied with this response and has vowed not to use this brand of camera ever again. His outrage can be understood especially for parents with young children because you can never truly know who is watching your home while you’re unaware. A more sophisticated criminal could use such information gleaned from home cameras to tell when a home may be vulnerable to being robbed.

    While the camera maker’s customer service may sound a little tone-deaf as far as the father’s mistrust is concerned, their advice about two-factor authentication is not wrong. 2FA, as it’s known, can go a long way in preventing these cameras from being hijacked. Also if you use the same password across multiple services you could be compromising your security greatly by making it easy for hackers to gain access to your devices. In this case, you may want to try some of the more reliable password managers out there. As we have said before, if you don’t take your internet security more seriously, it’s like having the most expensive lock that you just leave the key in.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , internet of things/, , , ,   

    When a smart home isn’t so smart 

    When a smart home isn't so smart

    Many people think that they are better securing their home by installing smart devices. These devices can range from anything from cameras to door locks and anything in between. These classes of smart devices are known as the internet of things or IoT for short. That means that these devices are connected to the internet so the user can control them from just about anywhere. The major drawback to IoT devices is that they can also be controlled by bad actors if the user isn’t careful.

    A couple in Milwaukee found that the hard way this week when someone was able to take control of some of their smart devices. The couple had a nest camera and thermostat installed. When one of them came home they found that the thermostat was set at 90 degrees. After that, someone started verbally harassing them through the speaker on their security camera. Even after the couple changed all their passwords the abuse continued until the devices were disconnected. The couple lays the blame at Nest, which is owned by Google, but the fault may lie elsewhere.

    It’s not hard to hack into IoT devices if the users are using the same password or weak passwords to secure their network and devices. Also, as we discussed with the recent YouTube hack, two-factor authentication (2FA) should also be enabled on these devices. While 2FA has its own flaws, it’s more secure than using an easily guessed password. These devices are designed to help protect your home, but if you’re not using 2FA it’s like having the most expensive lock that you just leave the key in.

  • Geebo 9:46 am on October 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dyn, , internet of things/   

    Why you couldn’t access the internet over the weekend 

    Why you couldn't access the internet over the weekend

    Starting this past Friday, a large part of the country were unable to access popular sites like Twitter and Netflix. What had happened is that unknown actors attacked an internet service called Dyn. To put it simply Dyn is a large backbone of the internet that handles the massive traffic to major websites. Dyn was used my so many websites that attacking Dyn is almost like attacking the entire internet.

    Dyn was attacked in what’s called a denial of service attack or DDoS for short. Think of it as millions of phones trying to call the same phone number at once. Even with services like Dyn only a certain number of people can get through to a website at the same time. This could crash any website and can cause a massive amount of damages in lost business.

    Normally in a DDoS attack a computer is infected with malware and whomever is pulling the strings of the malware will cause all the infected computers to send traffic to a website, unknown to the computer’s user. This new massive DDoS attack used devices from what’s called the internet of things (IoT). These devices include peripheral webcams, smart home devices like smart thermostats, or just about any other internet connected device that isn’t a cell phone, computer or tablet.

    The problem is that a lot of these devices don’t have the best security installed. Many of them have easy to guess passwords that don’t even require a password to be changed when installed. Unfortunately there’s not a lot that us, the end users can do. This record-breaking attack may have come because we’ve given up on security for convenience.

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