JOPLIN, Mo. — You may feel like you’re doing a good job protecting your smartphone and tablet — but is your digital life at risk through a smartwatch, printer, or refrigerator?
“I’ve never experienced anything like that,” said Ashley Gillen, Oronogo.
Gillen hopes that doesn’t change. She relies on her smartphone, smartwatch, and tablet.
“Especially for my watch because you know you don’t think about those things,” Gillen said.
Security on all internet-connected devices is the focus of Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October. Experts point out many people don’t update their digital devices on a regular basis, which opens them up to hacking.
“They use the device to actually become the platform for launching attacks, attacks on other items. The interesting thing is that it’s in your house, so it’s on this side of the firewall. So moving data laterally becomes really really easy because no one’s protecting from the other machines internally,” said John Motazedi, SNC2/Network Dr.
And that isn’t just your phone, tablet, and laptop — but even watches and household appliances that are vulnerable.
“Your nest, for example, your thermostat and some of those type of equipment to make sure that they’re getting updated. And many individuals, when they buy it from the store, It sits in the version that sat until they get rid of it years later. So those are now being a target of attack,” said Motazedi.
They say the best defense is to make sure you’re updating all internet-connected devices any time a patch is available.
“Updates are the number one thing to do, not only just for the equipment but even the firewall and some of the equipment and your cable modems and those equipment that are actually in the house,” he said.
Also, consider getting a new version of outdated devices.
“Some of the older equipment and by older I mean three to five years or more probably need to be replaced with something newer that has a newer understanding of what the new attacks are,” he added.
And don’t forget to check all of your devices – and any your children are using as well.