These days, a majority of electronic devices you purchase for your home, from TV’s to baby monitors, come with the ability to connect to the Internet so you can control them from your smartphone or tablet.
In 2017 alone, worldwide sales of baby monitors reached almost $900 million, with many people buying the newest monitors that include cameras and internet connectivity.
Ellen and Nathan Rigney of Houston, TX, recently purchased a Wi-Fi enabled Nest baby monitor to help watch over their 4-month old son.
One night, the couple was awoken by a beeping sound coming from the baby monitor.
At first, the couple thought it might be a smoke detector or CO2 alarm going off, then they heard an unfamiliar voice talking in their son’s room.
According to Ellen, “Immediate reaction was that there’s somebody in here, somebody’s in my son’s room! How did they get in there?!”
Instantly, Nathan jumped out of bed, switched the light on and witnessed their Nest camera turn on inside their bedroom.
The most frightening part was what happened next when the couple heard a man’s voice ordering the couple to turn the light back off. Then the man’s voice said, “I’m going to kidnap your baby, I’m in your baby’s room.”
Nathan ran upstairs to the baby’s room bursting through the door to find his 4-month old son alone and safe inside his crib. After determining no one was inside the house the couple turned off their internet network believing someone had hacked the Wi-Fi network in their home.
In addition to turning off their Wi-Fi, the couple contacted Nest, who according to Ellen, “was no help at all.” In the end, Ellen told local media outlets, “Something that is supposed to make you feel better and instead it makes you feel the opposite, it makes you feel invaded and uncomfortable.”
Smart home devices are unfortunately here to stay and in the future it will likely be tough to find a fridge, washer and dryer, thermostat, etc. that doesn’t connect to the internet.
This is why I want to share with you the latest security measures you want to have in place when it comes to devices that include audio or video access inside your home.
Use FHSS Technology.
When I was a kid, my friends and I played with cheap walkie-talkies and every now and then we would hear some stranger talking on the walkie-talkie.
In other words, someone else was using the same frequency as us and we would be able to hear them loud and clear.
The reason this would occur was because the walkie-talkies operated using direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS). In other words, many people were using the same radio frequency.
The problem is the last thing you want to use in your home is any device that uses DSSS technology. Nowadays, many companies are developing products that use frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS).
What this means is it limits outside access by randomly hopping frequencies at an incredible rate of 75 frequencies within a period of 400 milliseconds, making it difficult for a hacker to establish a connection.
Avoid the cloud.
Many people like to use cloud storage for convenience and on the go access to documents no matter where you are.
When using devices like security cameras or baby monitors it’s very risky to have these devices record to cloud storage. Hackers will often target access to your cloud storage as a backdoor way into your device.
Hide your entire network.
Every wireless internet router has a preset service set identifier (SSID).
This is essentially the name of your wireless network, which is set to a default by the manufacturer, meaning you probably have the same SSID name as many other people who purchased a similar router.
Ideally, during the process of setting up the router you want to immediately change the SSID name.
After you’ve changed the SSID name, you can also hide your network from others. Put simply, if you go to connect to a Wi-Fi network you can probably see all your neighbors networks listed as well.
What you want to do is go to your router settings and disable SSID broadcasting.
This means that anyone who wants to access your network will have to know the SSID first (meaning they will not be able to find it in the list of available networks when trying to connect to the internet).
The reality is, the growing rate of our reliance on the Internet means that it’s only a matter of time before most homes are filled with connected devices.
Considering the safety issues that are at stake, users can’t slack off and leave everything in the hands of companies that have other priorities in mind, such as making money.