If you don’t want to read the manual for the new Wi-Fi-connected device you just installed in your home, do yourself a favor and at least check how to change the default password.
A new report finds that more than 100,000 devices in the United Kingdom alone could be possibly be accessed by peeping strangers.
How is this possible?
“Two words,” explains F-Secure security advisor Sean Sullivan. “Default settings.”
Most consumers don’t seem to imagine that their baby monitor, web cam of Wi-Fi router might be targeted by a hacker.
“That’s called security through obscurity and it just does not work,” Sean explains. “There are ‘deep-web’ search engines —such as Shodan — that routinely scan for devices on the Internet. And just about anybody can find interesting things there that shouldn’t be publicly accessible but are.”
Often all online intruders need to do is type in the password that the manufacture sent the device out with.
“You need to change the webcam’s password to something complex and unique,” he says. “Don’t worry about having to type it all the time, you’ll probably only need to configure the associated mobile app once. And then the app will remember the password for you.”
This one simple step will greatly reduce your risk of having your devices hacked.
Still many of us won’t do it.
The time to get rid of this terrible habit of leaving default passwords untouched is now, before our homes become so overrun by Wi-Fi-connected devices that hackers begin to devote serious resources to this sort of intrusion and possibly find some convenient way to monetize it. So don’t let your fear of not being able to remember the passwords for all these devices become the weak link in your security.
“Once you’ve set your secure password, store it someplace safe for future use,” Sean says.
He suggests a using a password safe like F-Secure KEY or a piece of paper in a secure location in your home. Just don’t store it anywhere in sight of a webcam that still is using its default password.
[Image by DAVID BURILLO | Flickr]