As Technology Sinks into Homes, Cars, Hacking Becomes a Popular Tool for Thieves

Security concept: Lock on digital screenThe last decade has seen a huge increase in so-called automated homes. Through the use of windows with computer chips built into them; wi-fi enabled stoves, thermostats, and televisions; and computer-based home surveillance and security systems, the home space, like just about every place else, is now hooked into some form of computing technology; the same can be said of our vehicles.

As detailed by new reports from Engineering and Technology Magazine and Wired, tech savvy burglars are taking advantage of holes in these new technologies to worm their way into homes and cars across the United States. Many thieves use hacking techniques to effectively mine data from homeowners’ wi-fi networks, reading Facebook statuses to find out when homeowners are away or keystrokes to find out passwords for online bank accounts. Others are breaking in to on-board computers built into modern cars to unlock and start them without keys. In other words, while modern technology helped to temporarily slow the $4.6 billion in property Americans lose to burglars each year — not to mention the $14 billion spent on home repairs, replacements, and medical bills — new exploits are seemingly rendering this tech obsolete.

Protecting the Home is a Lot Like Protecting the Computer
That’s not to say that there aren’t some simple tips homeowners can use to help protect themselves from next-gen criminals. As the Federal Bureau of Investigation details, using some of the same methods to secure your automated home as you would to secure a personal computer can make a huge difference. Unsurprisingly, even being sure to implement the most rudimentary of firewalls, anti-virus programs, and operating system updates will ward off many cybercriminals who themselves are operating on only basic tech knowledge. Beyond that, being sure to change the default passwords on your wireless routers, home surveillance utilities, and other hardware will block all but the most able hacker from taking advantage of your futuristic home.

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