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They are vulnerable to hacking because they are connected to the internet and unlike a typical computer with a security suite, have little protection

London, 18th October 2016: As part of Get Safe Online Day, consumer security expert BullGuard looks at the world of smart devices and the Internet of Things, offering important advice to consumers on how to guard against emerging threats.

The smart home is rapidly moving from concept to reality. Today you can buy internet-connected devices that do everything from controlling heating and lighting systems, coffee makers and garage doors to locking bikes and starting kettles – all from a smartphone.

You’ve probably heard that many of these devices are not very secure. They are vulnerable to hacking because they are connected to the internet and unlike a typical computer with a security suite, have little protection.

Manufacturers usually provide minimum safeguards against hacking – typically a password and a user name, but problems arise because many people install their smart devices without changing the default password set by the manufacturer, and for someone in the know this can be easy to find.

The reasons why someone might hack a smart device range from simple mischievousness to cyber fraud. It’s perfectly possible for a hacker to gain access to your smart phone and home network via a connected device and there are already many instances of connected devices being hacked.

Websites such as www.insecam.com show thousands of internet-connected video cameras, illustrating just how easy it is to access a web-connected device irrespective of location or distance.

A search engine called Shodan adds thousands of smart devices to its directory every day. It’s like an enormous telephone directory that crawls the internet to find every connected device, including any smart devices you’ve installed in your home.

Thankfully setting up some basic protection is relatively simple – just change the username and default password, and make sure your password is difficult to guess. Hackers can easily crack simple passwords with software known as brute force tools. These harness a computer’s processing power to rapidly run through all possible permutations. If the password is simple like a name, 1234567, qwerty, a pet’s name and so on it can be cracked in no time.

However, these brute force tools do have their limits. If you create a password with eight, nine or ten characters comprised of a mix of upper case and lower case letters, numbers and symbols it can take years to crack it using brute force methods.

For example:

5Ty*sE9> or O9{-p4@a

Protect your smart home devices with a username and password composed in such a manner and you can be safe in the knowledge that your device won’t be hacked – at least unless you’ve offended the CIA or KGB.

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About BullGuard
BullGuard is Europe’s number one rated consumer security company. Its award-winning product portfolio includes in-depth internet security, comprehensive mobile security, 24/7 identity protection, and social media protection for both home and small business users. BullGuard is also a pioneer in the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected device security for consumers. It released the world’s first IoT vulnerability checker and following the acquisition of Dojo Labs is leading the consumer-cyber security industry in providing the highest level of protection to consumers across all of their internet-connected devices and smart homes.

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