What the Tech? Risky routers
It's Cyber Security Awareness Month, and that isn't just for the folks at Homeland Security. It's for every single person in the United States.
Ten years ago, cyber threats were mostly for Hollywood, but now, everyone lives with the risk of having their personal data stolen or their privacy compromised.
Smart homes give cyber snoopers a gateway into the lives of anyone who has a security camera, computer, smart TV or Alexa Dots and Google Home. Anything that is connected to the internet is susceptible to cyber criminals.
While you might think and even worry about your smart TV compiling data on your viewing habits, there is one device in the home that needs immediate attention. Your home WiFi router.
"I don't want to think about how many devices that are connected to my home network," Russ Schaefer, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, said. "We have Echos and Dots, phones and games and smart TVs."
Schaefer says cybercriminals realize rather than attempting to hack into those internet connected devices, it is easier and more efficient for them to gain access to the home network.
"You don't know what other data is being collected," he said. "You don't know what it's going to be used for. The Internet of Things is such a cutting-edge area where people don't know what can be inferred from you. It's not just the data, it's the metadata that people need to worry about, and that gets tricky fast."
The problem is that when someone purchases a wifi router for their home, they often will take it out of the box, hook it up to their cable router and then start adding devices.
Those routers come with default passwords and usernames, and if you don't change them, cyber snoopers can easily hack into the network and control any device connected to it.
Out of the box, those routers may have the username "admin" and a password that is simply "password." Cybercriminals can go to the manufacturer's website to find those login credentials. Then they just need to find the home network, enter the login information, and they are connected to the network. Many times it allows them to see pictures and videos from home security cameras.
On the internet, there are websites that show live streaming video captured from security cameras. One video showed a woman sitting in her dining room on the computer. Another video showed a garage door opening and closing while the homeowner tried to
figure out what was going on, while another captured a man looking at the computer screen, streaming live from his computer camera.
It's crucial for everyone to review their wifi router and change the name of the network, the username and password. Check with the manufacturer's website under "support".