How hackers use our own technology against us


Hackers always try to stay at least one step ahead of their victims. This often means using the technology we know and love as a launching pad to wreak havoc.

Fortunately, you can protect yourself. Below, we’ll reveal some telling examples of different types of hacks, and provide some tips to keep you and your family safe.

How problematic is smart home tech hacking?

Google Home turned on and connected to the iPhone next to it

Many homes today are progressively “smarter,” allowing residents to unlock doors, change room lights, adjust the thermostat, and play their favorite songs, all with just a few clicks in the room. a smartphone application. Indeed, these houses offer an increasingly vast assortment of connected gadgets.

In 2021, 32% of households in the United States had smart speakers, up from 24% in 2020. These gadgets allow people to check the weather, purchase products, check the status of a shipment, and even book taxis using specific voice commands. .

People generally appreciate the convenience of smart home technology. For example, someone might change the settings so that they always come home from work in a warm, well-lit house on a cold winter evening. Alternatively, they could have a smart lock allow a dog walker to enter their empty house, but not a delivery driver.

Smart home technology is convenient, but hackers can use it in sinister ways. In 2019, for example, a couple with numerous smart home devices in Wisconsin said an unknown party had exploited the technology. The intruder spoke to them through a speaker, made the house temperature extremely high, and played loud music through a connected video system.


How to stay safe from smart home hackers

There are several things you can do to protect yourself. First and foremost, make sure that your smart home’s software and hardware are always up to date.

It’s also worth thinking about the company you buy your devices from. Not all brands use the same levels of security; prioritize those who take it most seriously.

Of course, it’s also crucial to take action once you’ve purchased and updated your smart home technology. Make sure you don’t share device details with people outside your household, and the same goes for sharing your Wi-Fi password.

Bluetooth scanner hacking

Close-up of iPhone with Bluetooth icon turned on

Most people know how important it is to put their laptops in the trunk of the car or not see them if they leave them unattended. Unfortunately, keeping computers hidden is not necessarily a strong enough measure against theft.

Perhaps you’ve read a relevant news article or listened to the experience of a friend walking to a parked car and finding someone smashed the windows. However, these so-called smash-and-grab incidents are not always random occurrences.

It is increasingly common for thieves to take advantage of the built-in Bluetooth technology associated with most laptops and many other devices. They use readily available and easy to use bluetooth scanners that help them find gadgets.

A person who was the victim of laptop theft due to a car break-in said they had many other valuables in the car, but the thieves left these items intact. This made him suspect that the criminal had a specific tool to locate nearby electronic devices.

Many Bluetooth enabled devices emit signal beacons, even in sleep mode or when someone puts a closed laptop in a bag. If a person has a scanner, they can easily wander the rows of parked cars, waiting for signs of activity that they will use to plan which vehicles to hit.

How to protect yourself from bluetooth scanner hackers

You can protect yourself from bluetooth scanner hacks by keeping your laptop with you when possible. If you need to get away from it, consider storing it somewhere that’s hard for others to reach.

While your laptop is stored away, it’s also worth checking to see if you can temporarily turn off the Bluetooth signal. If you can, make sure you do.

People next to a coffin covered with roses at the funeral service

Hackers will stop at nothing to orchestrate their attacks. As an example, they often use someone’s death as the basis of their strategy. They could even take content from a deceased person and use it to create scams that affect people in that person’s network.

Consider a case where a deceased person used an easy-to-guess social media password and failed to take steps to have the account remembered after their death. A hacker could use the account for questionable purposes. In one case, a woman received harassing messages from the social media account of a deceased friend. She knew that blocking the account would silence the offending party, but hesitated as she had no other connection to her deceased loved one.

Cybercriminals could also pose as someone who is no longer alive and target people who are unaware of the death. There might be several people in your friend network that you don’t follow outside of social media, and haven’t seen in person for many years. If so, you know how easily it can happen.

However, hackers don’t always rely on social media for their death-related hacks. For example, many inheritance scams attempt to trick supposed heirs to pay money for taxes or fees and in return get millions of dollars transferred to their bank accounts. These scams usually arrive via email and claim that the recipient unknowingly had a relative in a faraway country.

It might seem a bit difficult to take care of yourself when you no longer exist, but there are several things you can do while you are still alive. First, give someone you trust access to your account after you die.

If you are taking care of someone else’s business after they die, it is important to be wary of any new “surprises” about inheritances or heirs. This is especially important if you don’t know the person who is communicating with you.

Credit card hacking

woman holding credit card while sitting at desk on Mac laptop

Most people have occasionally found unexpected charges on their credit cards. Hacking enhancements make it even easier for criminals to plan such attacks.

A recently discovered flaw with Apple Pay allowed hackers to steal money from someone’s account through their locked iPhone. This is a dangerous problem, especially as more and more people choose to pay by contactless methods these days.

Criminals also set up tiny card skimmers that exploit people who pay for gasoline at the pump, buy things from convenience stores, and perform other daily transactions. These devices collect and transmit card data, which means hackers could easily receive payment details and then try to use them to complete large transactions without the card user’s financial institution reporting it. .

Credit card hacks also happen online. Specifically, cybercriminals install malware that can capture people’s keystrokes while entering payment information. This technique works the same as a physical protein skimmer. It’s easier to get by on poorly maintained websites that have outdated software or other vulnerabilities.

How to protect yourself from credit card hacks

Credit card hacks are hard to solve, but you can protect yourself by being proactive. It is important to look for signs that a card reader has been compromised. For example, you need to look for moving parts.

It’s also important to check your bank accounts and check for any unexpected activity. If anything seems suspicious to you, contact your supplier as soon as possible.

Related: How To Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud

Protect yourself from hackers

You can’t prevent all of these hacks, but being careful not to trust people too quickly is a great way to stay safe. Keep your private information as well protected as possible. Don’t immediately believe people, even if they claim to know some of the same people as you.

Technology brings extraordinary benefits to society, but it also increases risk. Staying on top of hacker tactics is a convenient way to avoid possible problems.

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