Hackers Breach Ring Home Security Cameras – NYT

Unnerved owners of the devices reported recent hacks in four states. The company reminded customers not to recycle passwords and user names.

Source: Somebody’s Watching: Hackers Breach Ring Home Security Cameras – The New York Times

The Risks

With the introduction of more and more Internet-connected devices, consumers have to be more aware of the lack of security controls and the use of insecure username/password combinations. Many Internet users are still using compromised accounts. If you are unsure whether or not a username/password combination has been compromised, there are sites where you can validate this. While this is a promising development, you have to be aware that checking for a compromised account could also be a way of alerting someone to an account’s existence. So, proceed with caution. One such site is haveibeenpowned.com. This site tracks historical publicized breaches to alert users.

The other aspect of IOT (Internet of Things) security that users should be aware of is the mechanisms employed by these devices to protect your data and privacy. The fact is that many manufacturers simply do not place a high priority on your security and privacy. This is not a new phenomenon. Consumers need to look for products that offer encryption and the ability to turn off unwanted features. It doesn’t take a lot of research to learn that many of the devices consumers purchase today are spying on them.

The State of Things

This is where we have to be honest. People are going to do what they want. Many times they are going to make decisions without doing the proper research. Even when consumers want the best products, their decisions will often be driven by factors such as cost or popularity. This is one of the reasons we are in the position we are in. Those who have the knowledge should educate friends and family and help them to understand the risks mentioned above.

In many cases, consumers are inviting unwanted guests into their homes without knowing it. In the article linked by this post, we see hackers antagonizing children. Of course this is a ridiculous behavior and it should not be something we should have to worry about as parents. However, that does not make the threat go away. The fact remains that we have to protect our children and ensure that we are placing them in harm’s way.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I would simply advise that you do your research before making purchases on Internet-connected devices. Do some simple web searches to see if there are known vulnerabilities or security concerns that have been noted by educated reviewers or other consumers. Leave reviews on purchases you make to help educate others when you discover issues with devices you purchase.

Start using a password manager to help create more difficult passwords without the need to remember them all. Look for devices that require 2FA (two factor authentication) or multiple layers of authentication to prevent unwanted outsiders from accessing your devices. Never reuse credentials across multiple devices or services. Once that combo is discovered on one site or device, it can be effortlessly reused repeatedly. It is your responsibility to protect yourself and those in your home.

Author: Phil

Phil Williams is an engineer with around 20 years of information technology industry experience with past focus areas in security, performance, and compliance monitoring and reporting. Phil is a husband, father of 6 children, and an avid geek who loves building computers, gaming, and gadgets. He has an undergraduate degree in general IT sciences and has worked with the US Government as a contractor for over 20 years. He is now in a security solutions advisory role for a large vendor supporting commercial and enterprise customers.

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