Read This Before Buying a Network Device for your Home!!
Unfortunately consumers are still not getting it…..
I had written an article about security web cams being hacked by a Russian website sometime ago. It made the news and was quite big. You would figure it might scare some sense into people considering looking at the security devices you bought for your home network that you could view over the internet but apparently that is not the case. In recent news, people who own baby monitors have been hacked and the hackers were able to view and listen in on the the room these monitors were in. It kind of freaked the parents out but it begs the question…what do expect with a device that can connect over the internet and is set up with absolutely no security???
There are 2 distinct reasons why this is happening:
1. Excitement / Wonder
You as a consumer are so excited that you can actually accomplish things like using your smart phone to open your doors, adjust the thermostat, view webcams etc. that you can’t wait to get things going. In your haste to see the wonder of the new technology, your forget to ask yourself “what does this mean in terms of my personal security?”. By the time you have gotten things up and running you have all but forgotten this important question.
It is not entirely your fault. In a large effort by tech companies to make their devices more user friendly they have forgotten one fact..It is a device operating on a network that may be able to be accessed from the outside, so some security measures must be adhered to. I know you as a consumer might be saying is “all I here is blah blah blah computers, let use the tech toy already!!” but it is important that you at least understand and deploy the basics. The companies that sell these devices are making it easier for a secure setup but it is still not 100% effective.
A Little Network Primer
Any network device you buy that allows you control or manage things from another computer or smart phone are ALL set up in the same way:
1. They are on your home network.
2. They all have some desktop or smart phone app that allows you to manipulate the device.
3. They all require some sort of IP addressing scheme (Static or Dynamic) – You can either use the manufacturers service to resolve this or you can use your own if you want (NO-IP is a good example).
4. A port on your Firewall/Router (Internet Box) must be opened – This is usually done automatically through the setup of the device or instructions are given on how to do this.
5. This is the most important step…..a user name and password must be set up!!
Make sure it is complicated. I wrote an article a little while ago that explains an easy way to do this .
The problem is people either do not set up security or leave the defaults on. The former is like leaving your front door wide open when you go out for the night and the latter is like locking the front door but leaving a key on the door step after you leave. If you do not set up security, you do not have ANY security against hackers. If just the defaults are set-up, anyone can use Google to look up this information and you could be hacked. I know you might be saying “the internet is a big place, I will never be hacked”. Well, you might be right, but do you really want to find out?
Please look over this article and spend the extra 5 minutes to set up your device securely. It is right there with the documentation that came with the device. Reach out to the manufacturers tech support if you have to; that’s what they are there for. You can enjoy the new home network device with the piece of mind that proper security gives you.