I was driving down to South Florida when my bank called to tell me that they had to cancel my ATM card because someone in Australia was using it and attempting to go on a shopping spree. I’m sure you can imagine that I was less than thrilled this was occurring while I was away from home but ever so glad that it was caught early and that the bank reversed all the money and associated fees.
It is these types of incidents that are scary and becoming more popular in nature and my story is nothing compared to some that I’ve heard. After this happened I changed over all my billing to Intuit.com and started monitoring my bank accounts and credit score more closely.
In today’s day and age we have so much to worry about as parents and as consumers. Medical devices are being hacked and so are smartphones and laptops and bank accounts. But, what scares me the most is a recent story by CNN about a Texas couple that found their electronic “baby monitor” had been hacked in their child’s bedroom.
The story goes on to say that they parents heard a strange voice coming from the bedroom and when they went to find out, they could see that someone had taken control of the camera monitor, remotely and was shouting obscenities. What does this story mean for the rest of us? Are we doomed to be invaded in our homes and cars by abusing our own products and space? It’s unbelievable. And, yet, the answer is it’s going to get worse and more common. Security vulnerabilities have been detected in far more devices than you might realize – including but not limited too – webcams, cameras, implanted medical devices, ATM machines and more. These things have been hackable for years but only recently has it really been getting any attention.
Don’t Be Hackable
Many cases of hacks could have been avoided had the user taken time to configure and install their devices properly, but in truth, that can be laid at the feet of the manufacturer. We recently wrote a post titled, “Computer Safety Tips: How to Avoid Theft.” And in the coming weeks will be covering more topics on making sure your safety and security are first and foremost.
The take home message is not that your baby monitor could be hacked, because you very well may not possess one, but the message is to – Be Smart. The idea is that anything can be hacked and you have to be vigilant in securing your identity and your devices. This is the world that we now live in and it is expected to get worse.
If you own a smartphone, ensure that your settings are set properly.
On your home computer, ensure that your browser, anti-virus and other important programs are always kept up to date. Updates are usually for your safety.
If you are on a public computer be careful what information you share. When possible, pay your bills from home and avoid checking your bank account. It’s not ideal, it’s frustrating beyond belief but it’s necessary. It doesn’t all fall on the consumer; in January Sony was fined hundreds of dollars after their PlayStation system was hacked and 77 million account names, password, and email addresses, one of the largest data security breaches in history.