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How to secure your home network from Botnet attacks

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With any new technology, there is always a dark side that criminals will look to expose. As you know, such is the case with “smart” devices that millions of people use in their homes.

One common smart device that hackers will look to exploit is a video doorbell. Tens of millions of Americans have smart doorbells that record audio and video.

The video doorbell industry is a nearly $2 billion market.

Yet, like many smart devices, video doorbells might not be the most secure.

Kya N. is a hacker who targeted smart doorbells. He hacked into email accounts to gain access to Ring doorbell customers around the U.S.

With the personal information of his victims, Kya would call the police and tell them that he was a minor.

Then he would tell police his parents were shooting guns and drinking beer.

When police would arrive at the address Kya provided, he would use the doorbell camera to taunt the victims and the police officers.

He did this all while live-streaming the incident.

Eventually, Kya was charged with conspiracy to access computers without authorization.

He was arrested on unrelated charges but faces many more charges from his latest actions.

In the U.S., smart home devices are a $ 30-billion-plus industry. However, it’s an industry with a lot of security flaws.

Many smart devices lack security measures, making them an easy target for hackers, because they’re usually hooked up to your home internet network.

And internet networks are only as secure as their weakest devices.

Which means, if hackers can get into your smart device, your entire network, including your computers and sensitive information is vulnerable.

So, if hackers can compromise something as simple as your doorbell, they can likely access your Wi-Fi network, allowing them to then access your computer or your TV.

But there’s another, even more sinister reason hackers tend to target smart devices: to carry out botnet attacks.

What is a botnet?:

A botnet is a hijacked computer or device that is used with other devices to attack a target with overwhelming internet traffic.

This can shut down websites and disrupt internet service.

In 2016, hackers carried out a botnet attack that disrupted internet access for millions of people in the U.S.

Some botnet attacks have lasted days and shut down businesses for extended periods.

One reason smart devices are a prime target to use in a botnet attack is that many smart devices come with a default password from the manufacturer.

But many of these default passwords can easily be found online.

Meaning, until manufacturers of smart devices make security a priority, it’s up to the end user to do everything they can to secure their devices.

So, if you have any smart devices in your home, here are some ways to prevent them from being used to carry out a botnet attack.

Get a new internet router:

I was recently visiting a family member who had an internet router that was ten years old.

They said it has always worked and they have never had a reason to get a new one.

Trouble is, older internet routers have outdated security measures.

Even if they have software upgrades, the manufacturer will eventually stop offering updates for outdated routers.

So, if you have an old router or rent one from your service provider, ask them for a new one. Most companies will upgrade outdated equipment.

Make your phone security a priority:

Most smart devices are connected to a central hub or remote control, which in many cases is your smartphone.

This is why your smartphone is a big target for hackers. If a criminal can hack into your smartphone, it could give them access to every other smart device in your house.

Use a guest network for smart devices:

Since smart devices are a popular target for hackers you want to isolate these devices from your computer or other more critical devices.

One way to isolate smart devices is to set up a guest Wi-Fi network for all these devices.

In other words, you could have your doorbell, lightbulb, and toaster all on a separate network.

That way, if a hacker accesses your doorbell, they would only be able to access the other smart devices on the same network.

They wouldn’t be able to access your computer or other devices that are on a different network.

As more smart devices are used in homes, hackers will try to use them to carry out botnet attacks.

Like anything that is connected to the internet, it’s as secure as you make it – you can’t depend on anyone else to make your security a priority.

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