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Be aware of the household items hackers are targeting to learn information about you

Hackers access thermostats, refrigerators, and more
Posted at 5:20 AM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 18:55:08-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Have you ever thought about how many devices in your household connect to the internet? Hackers are looking for access to information about you and News5 has learned if they aren't secured properly some of these items could give those hackers a way in.

Cyber experts want you to take some time to think about the everyday items in your home that can be hacked and the consequences that come with it.

Take a look, these are some of the most common household items that are now connected to the internet. Cybersecurity experts say hackers could be targeting any of these household items:
- Security cameras
- Smart TV
- Voice activated speakers (Like Alexa)
- Baby monitors
- Electronic picture frames
- Game consoles
- Bathroom scales
- Refrigerators
- Thermostats
- Printers
- Home wi-fi routers
- Garage door openers

If these items aren't secured properly in some cases hackers can gain access to valuable information. Yes, if your thermostat and refrigerator connect to the internet they can be a way in for hackers.

Things like a garage door opener system could help criminals can learn about your daily routine or perhaps when you leave the house every day.

But the biggest risk is if hackers get in it could provide a gateway to your entire network. Local educator, speaker, and cybersecurity professional Dr. Erik Huffman is one of the most respected cybersecurity minds in our community. He says this is something every family should think about.

"All of these things are connected online and you can think of each of those devices as a door with a lock, but the lock expires. So after the lock expires anyone can walk in. All of those are different areas hackers can enter your home and find out financial information, find out information about you, or someone connected to you. So the amount of devices is my number one concern that I have," said Huffman.

The experts say going with default security settings may set you up for trouble. They suggest you take control and set strong passwords that you can reset every three to six months for an added layer of security.

Huffman says one of the biggest challenges we face in properly securing these household devices is making sure they are properly updated through downloadable security updates.

"If it's a TV, if it's a thermostat, if it's a refrigerator, If it is a nanny cam to monitor a newborn, some of those devices people look at like how do I even update this thing. You have to connect it to your computer and do the firmware updates and things like that. So it's a little more inconvenient to update those devices," said Huffman.

Huffman says in many cases if hackers find extra layers of security they will move on to the next victim. So making an effort to improve the security of your home devices can go a long way in protecting them against cyber attacks.