You might be tired of hearing about new cyber risks, especially around the holiday season with all of its other stressors, but now is the ideal time to protect your family as smart devices are a very popular type of holiday gift. Like any evolving technology, smart home tech is especially vulnerable to hackers. Do you own — or are you thinking about purchasing — any of these popular devices?
According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), smart home devices are projected to earn $3.8 billion in revenue this holiday season — a 93% increase from 2017. These devices include Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home Hub, and Facebook’s Portal. Smart speakers, which the CTA reported had about 27 million shipments in 2017, are expected to increase to approximately 44 million in 2018 and 57 million in 2019.
New research by cybersecurity firm Avasts shows that significant risks are abundant with this type of technology. Without getting too technical, it’s useful to know that security issues with incorrectly configured Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol are often the problem. In its 2018 “Are smart homes vulnerable to hacking?” report, Avasts researcher Martin Hron says it’s “frighteningly easy” for hackers to gain access and control of a smart home.
The report found more than 49,000 MQTT servers publicly visible on the Internet due to a misconfigured MQTT protocol. This vulnerability can enable hackers to access smart home technology and commit crimes such as:
A poorly configured MQTT server that is publicly available on the internet without any password will allow cybercriminals to spy on the smart home that is using it. Therefore, the first thing you should do is ensure your server is password-protected with a strong (and not default) password.
First, be sure you cover the fundamentals by following the steps under the section “How to protect yourself from future cyber attacks” in our previous article. Basic precautions such as keeping your software up-to-date and always securing your devices can go a long way toward protecting your home and family.
Here are additional precautions that can help protect you:
According to the Internet of Things (IoT) analyst firm Berg Insight, the number of smart homes in North America reached 22 million in 2017 (about 16% of homes), and that number is expect to increase significantly as smart devices improve in quality and affordability. Berg Insight projects 63 million homes in North America to contain smart technology by 2022 (44%). Even if you are a late adopter or dislike the idea of smart home technology, you are likely to be affected by it in the near future, and it would make sense to know how to use the technology safely and effectively.
Teric provides both strategic internal and external support to staff and clients in multiple areas. In addition, Teric leads the Private Client Group insurance team and is responsible for client service technology solutions and the small business service unit. He applies his years of experience to d
With 15+ years in the industry, Teric previously lead the overall marketing and information technology departments, in addition to implementing strategic growth initiatives across the organization. Today, Teric continues to focus on strategic initiatives to support the growth of the business and the service deliverables to clients. He is also primarily responsible for the integration of technology with traditional insurance solutions and leading a team of credentialed insurance specialists who are passionate about helping others protect their assets. Teric holds a bachelor’s degree from Loras College.
The world is different than it once was. It used to be that you needed a 30-foot phone cord to take the phone into another room just so you could have a little privacy, and that when you left work, you really left work, since there wasn’t any way to login remotely.
Nowadays, technological advances have made us truly mobile by enabling us to stay connected 24/7/365. While the workplace impact of 24/7 connectivity has meant that employee productivity has been on the rise, along with it comes challenges that couldn’t have been imagined even 15 years ago.
With massive data breaches at organizations such as Target, Dairy Queen, and JPMorgan, businesses are becoming more aware of the threat of hackers and external threats to their data. And while it’s important to protect yourself from such exposures, history has shown that the real enemy lies within our own companies. Don’t believe it?
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