Remember those days when you had to manually go through the fridge to see what you needed to buy, or what was way past its expiry date? Nowadays, if you have a smart home – where all your devices are connected to the internet – you can simply ask Alexa, or use an app to check what’s in the fridge. You may even get suggestions for meals that you can prepare with the available ingredients. You can get pinged when the almond milk is nearly finished or when someone eats all the strawberries that you were planning on using for your breakfast smoothie.
Life’s good, right?
While there are advantages to having these smart devices, there is a greater risk that something could wrong. All these devices are essentially mini computers, which means there is a possibility that they can be accessed by hackers. Even more risky is that these devices, including your computer and mobile devices, are connected to the same WiFi router. A cybercriminal could gain access to the WiFi router, which in turn gives them access to all the devices connected to it. They could then run all kinds of code to get access to your personal information and exploit the very system that makes your home run smoothly.
Check out our security advisories for examples of instances where home WiFi routers were exploited. You can also view our remote working security guide to ensure you have everything setup to protect your hardware and software.
Driving a high-tech car?
If your vehicle allows you to set cruise control, assist with lane changes or even automatically brake on your behalf, chances are your car could get hacked. These are happening less frequently at the moment because there is no financial again. Hackers do this mainly for entertainment or malicious purposes.
Although vehicle manufacturers are going to great lengths to prevent these kinds of attacks, there are also things that you as the driver can do:
- Don’t set your home address on your GPS. This kind of information is valuable to any criminal. Once they know where you live, they may just be able to access your home.
- Minimise use of wireless systems on your vehicle. These are controlled online, making it easier to gain access.
- Don’t leave your passwords lying around, including in your car. The cubbyhole may for ideal for storing all kinds of things, but if a criminal gets into your car, they can easily access the password and use it to their advantage.
- When taking your car for a service or repairs, make sure you use a reputable service provider. By going into the onboard computer, they can access all kinds of information about your vehicle and its driving history.
- Only download apps from reputable app stores to use on your vehicle’s infotainment system.
- Never use your vehicle’s internet browser. Instead, use your phone, which is more secure.
- Watch out for vehicle recalls as there may be a security flaw that hackers can exploit to access some of your vehicle’s features.
Computers and mobile devices
For your own safety, updates are crucial. When updates are released for your applications, browsers, devices, and operating systems, make sure that you install them as soon as possible.
Although updates can seem like a pain, they are actually there for your benefit so that you can secure your physical and virtual possessions.
It’s also important to frequently back up your data. If your computer or device gets stolen or damaged, you can rest assured that you have another copy saved somewhere else.
Anything that is connected to the internet can be exploited. So, if you’re making time keep up to date with the latest news, fashion, and social media posts, why not do the same with updates? It can save you a lot of trouble in the long run if your device is ever hacked.