Digital technology can certainly be used to enhance your home security, and the choice of smart security devices grows larger every year – from keyless front door locks, to motion-sensing security cameras that stream live footage of your living room straight to your smartphone. You can even install a burglar alarm that monitors your family’s comings and goings, so you always know who’s at home, and who’s not. But just like physical security measures, some digital devices can be vulnerable to attack, and as our homes become increasingly ‘smart’, there’s a risk that cyber criminals can hack their way in.
Open to attack
Many home security systems boast seriously robust defences, but some CCTV cameras are vulnerable - particularly those that operate over an unsecure internet connection via a default admin account that doesn’t even require a password. Use one of these cameras and just about anyone can log in and watch a live feed from inside your home! Yet it’s not just security systems that criminals target when seeking cracks in your home’s cyber defences – almost any connected device has the potential to be hacked. And in the past, criminals have even been able to access home internet routers when users failed to change the default password that accompanied their new devices.
Connected toys are increasingly popular with tech-savvy children, but some products can create a particularly worrying chink in a household’s cyber armour. There’s already been at least one high-profile case of Bluetooth-enabled toys being successfully hacked by criminals. And while you may not think that a child’s toy is likely to yield much in the way of sensitive or valuable information, a single hackable device can provide criminals with a gateway to take control of other connected devices in the home.
It’s tempting to use a single password for all your connected devices, but if a hacker cracks one, they’ll quickly gain access to everything. So use different passwords for different systems and devices. And never rely on the generic passwords supplied with a new device - because you don’t know how securely they’re stored by the manufacturer. Always set a strong, new password whenever you take delivery of a new piece of tech. That means choosing a password with a combination of numbers, symbols and letters, preferably in both upper and lower case.
Software updates are important too, because cyber criminals are constantly searching for weaknesses in our home defences, and software providers are equally hard at work trying to keep their cyber security one step ahead. So when a device prompts you to update its software, you should do so right away.