Hacking New Vulnerabilities into American Households

smart fish tank

In mid-July 2017, hackers wormed their way into a North American casino’s network, attempting to steal sensitive data. They entered by exploiting a vulnerability in a smart fish tank which was controlled through an internet connection.

Hackers are constantly looking for innovative ways to circumvent security measures and will exploit any potential weakness they can find. As the proliferation of smart homes, smart cars, and smart businesses continues, the idea of gaining access to valuable data via a smart fish tank should give pause to anyone considering going “smart” with their technology.

Exploring the Ramifications of Smart Technology

Whether you’re operating a business or trying to enhance your home, it is important to consider the possible ramifications of smart locks, electrical outlets, doorbells, speakers, light bulbs, climate control, home security systems, and more.

Devices like these provide possible points of entry into your network that may not even be on your radar. Even children’s toys could be a potential vulnerability if they are connected to the internet.

NBC recently reported an FBI warning to parents about internet connected toys. Empowered by a combination of sensors, cameras, microphones, data storage and GPS options, toys like these have the capacity for recording interactions and compiling sensitive data. Hackers can then gain access to a typical travel route taken by your child, the layout of rooms in the house where they play, and more.

With 8.7 billion internet-connected devices on the market in 2017, consumers can’t be too careful with their security.[i]

That is why it is vital to educate yourself on security and take preventative measures to keep hackers out.

What Can I Do to Be Safe from Hackers?

Experts recommend taking a variety of measures to protect internet-connected devices from would-be hackers. The use of  ultra-secure passwords is a must. Consider using a combination of letters, numbers and special characters, and for extra security, change your passwords frequently.

Keeping computers and devices up to date is also important. When companies become aware of security loopholes, they issue patches and updates to protect their customers. Make sure you install them promptly.

When feasible, consider disconnecting devices from the network, or turning them off, when not in use. Unmonitored connections provide added security concerns as users may not be aware that anything has happened until they go to use the device again.

Last, remaining vigilant may be your best defense. The department of Homeland Security publishes updated alerts about “current security issues, vulnerabilities and exploits” on their website, or you can sign up to receive alerts through email. Issued warnings include instructions to follow in case you are impacted by a threat.

Even taking these steps can’t eliminate all your risks, but it can help you prevent many of the common security pitfalls and a few uncommon ones as well.  And because you can’t eliminate all of your risks, your homeowners insurance and other types of policies are there to protect you.

[i] Adam Rowe. “This Holiday Season, Smart Toys Come with FBI Warnings.” Tech.co. Tech.co Arizona, Dec. 18, 2017. Web.