Unfortunately, so do a number of other devices that connect to each other, like walkie-talkies and other connected toys. And with a few simple modifications, a criminal can use these devices to communicate with other systems, like your car. And online hackers have made it easy, with step-by-step instructional videos and libraries of stolen algorithms for virtually any car imaginable. All a criminal needs to do is follow the instructions, download the algorithm and rolling code schemes for a range of automobiles, and then broadcast it across a parking lot. And like magic, car doors unlock and trunks pop open.
Unfortunately, this technique is not just limited to automobiles. The same hack can be used to open a surprising number of garage doors and other electronic locks that use the same sort of rolling code scheme, and step-by-step instructions are likewise available online to enable cybercriminals of just about any skill level to take advantage of this vulnerability.
Home deliveries - Of course, everyone is familiar with items delivered to someone's home being stolen right off the porch or doorstep. Here are some things to do to protect purchases that are being delivered to your home.
- When possible, require a signature for delivery.
- Have items arriving during the day be delivered to your office or place of business.
- If that's not possible, require packages to be left at an alternate location, such as a side or back door, behind the bushes, or with a neighbor.
3. Connected devices
Many of the items being purchased this holiday season are devices that connect to the Internet for one reason or another. Unfortunately, few of these devices were designed with security in mind. These devices can often be used to collect personal information, or they can be hijacked and used as weapons, such as a recent series of denial of service attacks that redirected traffic from tens of millions of compromised devices, such as digital cameras and DVRs, to shut down the online services of a targeted victim.
Vulnerable connected devices can include:
- Smart entertainment systems- game consoles, TVs, DVRs, DVD players, and online gaming
- Smart accessories- watches, phones, tablets, laptops, weather clocks, radios
- Smart toys- dolls and toys with corresponding online lives and data, remote controlled vehicles - including those that can be driven or flown using your smartphone, interactive toys that can be updated online
- Smart appliances- everything from toothbrushes to washing machines
- Smart cars- entertainment systems, communications, onboard computers and diagnostic systems, and automated payment systems for parking or fuel
Of course, hacking these devices themselves is not really the problem. No one is really interested in hacking into your smartwatch to figure out your exercise routines, your calorie intake, or your weight loss plan. But they ARE using reconnaissance hacks to discover your passwords for the WiFi network at work, or your account information for automatic online purchases, to steal or spoof your identity, or even to figure out when you are away from home.
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