What the Tech? Cyber snoopers
While smart home devices are helpful and convenient, they also a pose a privacy and safety risk.
Smart home devices are reaching a high saturation point in the United States. Consumers are
purchasing and installing wireless cameras, door locks, doorbells, garage door openers and
devices that control thermostats. While these devices are helpful and convenient, they also a
pose a privacy and safety risk.
The devices themselves are not always to blame; the home's WiFi router is at the crux of the
problem. The router connects to the device that brings the internet into the home, then
distributes the internet signal throughout the house. Smart home devices then connect to the
The problem arises when the owners of the router neglect taking the step of resetting the
router's password and username. All routers are set to a default username and password out of
the box. Often it is "username" and the name of the router. Manufacturers often use the same
default settings for all of their routers and post those on its website so consumers will find them
easily. If the new owner of the router doesn't change both the username and password a hacker
can go online, search for default settings and log-in to the home WiFi network.
Hackers then can watch from their computer no matter where they are in the world. Those
live-streams are also posted on the internet for anyone else to see. There are several websites
where hackers add the live-streams that can air for days without the homeowner's knowledge.
So what do you to protect yourself and your privacy? Before plugging in any new device check
to see if it requires a username and password. If it does change it to something you're not using
on another device. If you haven't checked your WiFi router or have never changed the settings,
do that or have someone you trust do it for you. The way to check is if you're required to enter a
password when anyone signs in to your home's Wi-Fi. Common default usernames and
passwords are "username" and "admin" and common passwords are the word "Password" or
the name of the manufacturer of the router.
Hackers, of course, are hoping you ignore this. There's a small chance but they may be watching
you read this.