The internet of things has made everything from refrigerators to thermostats smarter. But as with connected technologies grow in popularity, malicious hackers can find ways to take advantage of these innovations, increasing the need for awareness and vigilance. While strengthening your passwords and utilizing other security applications can help, blocking access can be a great first step.
- Off-brand apps. If you use certain third-party apps, be careful. This fall, Snapchat users were the victim of a major breach, with more than 90,000 photos and 9,000 videos stolen. Those users downloaded third-party apps to get around the fact that Snapchat wasn’t offered on their operating system. According to Snapchat, some third party developers would build services to trick users and steal their login information.
Read more: 'The Snappening' Really Happened: 100,000 Snapchat Photos and Videos Leak Online
- Your refrigerator. Last year, a security firm called Proofpoint, Inc. discovered a hack that occurred between December '13 to Jan. '14 used 100,000 interconnected household items (like smart fridges) as entry points to send virus-ridden e-mails.
Read more: Uh, Did Your Refrigerator Just Send Me an Internet Virus?
- The car. A report was released this winter by the office of Senator Edward Market (D-Mass) that found that nearly 100 percent of cars have wireless weaknesses that hackers can use – everything from keyless entries, navigation systems and remote starts. Not only that, but personal information collected by car manufacturers are often stored with third parties that could be breached.
Read more: The Next Place Hackers Will Find You? Your Car.
- Your social media accounts. Time and again, big-name news organizations and well-known companies are the victims of hacking via their social media accounts, especially Twitter. Chipotle, Newsweek are only the latest brands to have their social presence compromised.
Read more: Hackers Strike Newsweek's Twitter Account
- At the cash register. Some of the most recent retail breaches – Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels, P.F. Chang's and Home Depot, to name a few – have called into question the safety of point-of-sale systems and payment terminals that lead hackers to credit card information. If you use a mobile payment system, ensure that you are doing everything you can do cut down on the possibility of fraud.
Read more: Target, Neiman Marcus Credit Card Hacks Could Be More Widespread, Experts Say
- Your baby monitor. If your baby monitor can run wirelessly, there's a chance that what you use to keep track of your little one can be used by hackers to keep track of you, especially if there if is a camera attached.
Read more: The Internet of Things: New Threats Emerge in a Connected World