A Scary Search Engine
The home computer isn’t the only device that is under threat right now; any Internet-connected device can be a potential target for a hacker and their tasks have become easier after a new search engine called Shodan came into being.
Described as the “scariest search engine on the Internet” by CNN, it allows “authenticated account holders” to search for vulnerable targets in Webcams, baby monitors, refrigerators, and other commonplace home appliances.
Dale Drew, the Chief Security Officer at level 3 Communications, has also asked consumers to beware of this search engine. He has said, that easy access to devices like the Webcam can lead to an unwanted intrusion into private households. “Literally thousands of people can be peering into your webcam, into your home, and you have no knowledge of it.
Bad guys are getting access to home-based cameras and getting pictures of people changing their clothes or wearing no clothes and then threatening to publish those pictures on the Internet unless they get paid a ransom” – Drew said
It’s Widespread Problem
Computer hacker Chris Roberts, who takes pride in having hacked almost everything beginning from missiles to planes to banks and also prisons, has recently diverted his attention to household devices that can be connected to the Internet like smartphone accessible security systems, ovens that can be controlled through internet connectivity, and much more. He said that this was an “easy way” into someone else’s life.
Roberts demonstrated how he recently was able to access an oven, and use it trace the internet connection to a computer that had confidential information in it. He is of the opinion that manufacturers nowadays have made secondary security criteria that may or may not need much attention.
He also urged consumers not to be too lackadaisical about the issue of security – they should always choose a unique password and by doing so, they can prevent a “majority of the bad guys from breaking into their home network.”
But Drew said there are some simple things consumers can do to protect themselves. He urges consumers not to bypass security while installing a device. Most importantly, set a unique password. He said the default settings are often “admin” & “password” and the “bad guys know that.”
John Matherly, the CEO of Shodan, told CBS4 that the search engine could prove to be an important tool for security analysts to discover flawed security systems and thus aid the manufacturer in fixing it.
If anything this is the exact time you should be getting a VPN to protect yourself.