Do you have a laptop or desktop PC that’s equipped with a webcam?
How about a baby monitor or some security cameras that are connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network?
If so, people from all over the world might be spying on your family at this very minute! And I’m not just saying that for dramatic effect – it’s absolutely true.
There’s a search engine called Shodan that scans the Internet 24/7 looking for Internet-connected devices that are using default login names and passwords – or in many cases, no security at all.
When it finds a poorly secured device, it’s added to Shodan’s “Internet of Things” database. And yep, that database is searchable by anyone with access to an Internet connection.
If you’d like to see for yourself what’s available through Shodan, click here to visit the site and then click Explore.
Shodan searches for and indexes pretty much anything it can find that’s connected to the Internet, including such mundane things as controllers for home heating systems and web-connected appliances. And believe it or not, even devices of that nature are vulnerable to intrusive and dangerous hacking attacks.
Basically, if it connects to your router and it isn’t secured with a strong login name and password, Shodan can (and eventually will) find it and list it in their database, making it available to users of the search engine.
Think about this for a moment: If you have an Internet-connected device that hasn’t been properly secured, it’s wide open to countless hackers located all around the world.
Of course there are a number of ways a hacker could make changes to a device’s settings or steal the owner’s personal information, but perhaps the scariest danger of all applies to webcams and other types of Internet-connected cameras.
Right now people could be peeking in on you and/or your kids as you go about your daily lives.
And don’t think you’re safe if you never, ever use your computer’s webcam. As I explained in this post, that isn’t necessarily the case.
Bottom line: I strongly recommend that you make sure that every device that’s connected to your home network is locked down with the strongest security method available for that device, and that includes your router and Wi-Fi network.
Also, make sure you either disconnect or physically cover the lenses of any webcams in your house when they aren’t being used.
And most important of all, NEVER keep using a device’s default username and password.
I recommend that you follow the directions in this post to make sure all of your devices’ passwords are difficult to break, but easy to remember. And for goodness’ sake, lock your router down tight as a drum!
And finally, never forget this important truth: If it’s connected to your router or Wi-Fi network, it’s literally connected to the entire world.