Can Hackers Get Into Your Smart Home?

We’ve all got used to the increasing amount of technology in our lives. We have smart meters tracking our energy usage, door bells that link to our smartphones and smart cameras that snap a pic and post it to social media in less than a few seconds.

But with 127 million smart devices like the Amazon Echo due to be sold in the USA alone this year, are we opening ourselves up to attacks from hackers?

According to a study by vpnMentor, some of our favourite tech might not be as security friendly as we think.

The company got together with a team of hackers to find out whether we’re being put at risk by buying products from unethical sources or from second hand sources. Here’s what they found:

The Amazon Echo

Love them or hate them, smart devices like the Echo are becoming more popular. According to the vpnMentor research, however, some of the first products off the line may well have a vulnerability that users aren’t aware of.

Their hacker squad was able to gain access to the device using a special SD card – what’s more they were able to remotely access the Echo services.

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Smart Door Monitors

The hackers hired by vpnMentor found that the first generation models can be manipulated physically, creating an access into your Wi-Fi service.

This could be linked to a web site that contained user passwords for home networks, further providing a portal to obtain personal information.

Smart Cameras

Most of us have smart phones nowadays and the camera is probably one of the most popular ways we use these.

The hacker team looked at the Samsung SNH-1011 and found that they were able to break into the wireless camera feed and reset the password without even having an idea what the original was.

What it meant was the team controlled the camera without the person who owned it knowing.

Smart Plugs

You might not have one in your home at the moment, but they are becoming increasingly popular. Smart plugs allow you to control things like lighting in your home, operating remotely via your phone or another Wi-Fi device.

The hacker team found that encryption and security weren’t that high with these products and that access was relatively easy in order to take complete control.

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What Can You Do?

The research shows that buying a product second hand or from a disreputable supplier, could well put your security at some risk.

vpnMentor suggest a number of simple measures to help improve your online safety:

First, you should always take a close look at the product – research it properly and find out if there are any issues with respect to security.

You should only buy a smart gadget from a respected, certified seller.

When you get the product home, take a look at it carefully and check that it hasn’t been physically interfered with.

Always ensure that your computer is updated and configured properly.

If you have a smart device that is externally facing, consider using an additional and separate network.

We should all be taking our cyber security seriously and, with so many smart devices on the market, it’s never been so important. You can discover the full research by vpnMentor here.


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