We all do it. You make security mistakes that put your family at risk, although you probably don’t even know it.
In this digital age where everything from your garage door to your laptop, tablet, smartphone and light bulb are connected to the internet, you’re leaving yourself open to hacks. Criminals around the world can remotely access your home.
They can watch your family by accessing your webcam. They can remotely unlock doors so they can go into your home when you’re not there.
Hackers can listen to your conversations and see your location on a map. From thousands of miles away or right next door, they can watch as you type in your passwords, so they can access your bank accounts and credit cards.
The internet has changed the world, mostly for good. But you must protect your family, your ID and your money.
Think twice about each internet-connected device you have and ensure you make it as difficult for hackers as possible to access it.
For instance, here are five ways you’re probably leaving yourself wide open to hackers. Keep reading for simple tips to protect yourself.
Webcams have changed the world. In an instant, you can see your family and friends around the country and around the world.
You can use FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Live and other programs to have video conversations with your family. Could you have imagined just a decade ago that you’d be having a face-to-face conversation with your children who are away at school or on a military base?
It’s truly amazing that you can do that now. But, of course, hackers, criminals and creeps are using your webcam to remotely watch your children, grandchildren and you as you go about your private business at home.
We’ve got two tips that you absolutely must do. First, go low-tech and put a piece of tape over your webcams, like the one on your laptop, when you’re not using it. It’s a simple trick but it keeps hackers out of your house.
Second, make sure you install FREE software that alerts you when someone tries to remotely access your webcam. If you’re an Apple user, use OverSight to get alerted when someone tries to access your webcam while you’re using it.
If you’re a Windows user, install Who Stalks My Cam. The program alerts you in real time when someone tries to access your webcam.
- Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo has really changed the way we communicate with the internet, and so have similar devices like Google Home. The idea is the same.
You have a little device listening to you at all times. When you need help, you just ask Amazon’s Alexa, for instance, a question.
“Alexa, is McDonald’s still open?” “Alexa, can you play mom’s favorite songs?”
You can use Echo for a lot more, too. You can control your smart-home devices and shop online just by talking.
It’s called Voice Purchasing. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can order products or re-order things you use all the time.
Just make sure that you don’t keep Voice Purchasing open when you’re not using it. You don’t want hackers accessing your private information.
Here’s how to turn off Voice Purchasing from your Alexa app. Go to Settings >> Voice Purchasing >> turn off Voice Purchasing. You can require a confirmation code, too, that you’ll say out loud to Alexa when you’re shopping on Amazon.
- Signed In
If you’re like most people, you check your Facebook account many times each day. This goes for Twitter, Google+, other social media accounts and so many other apps.
Most of the time, you don’t log into your accounts because they’re already open. Which, of course, leaves you vulnerable to hacks.
Just make sure that you’re the only one accessing your account. Do you know you can check recent activity on your account to make sure no one else is logging in?
Here’s how. On Facebook, click on the down arrow in the upper-right corner >> Activity Log >> Filters.
On Twitter: If you’re using a laptop or PC, go to analytics.twitter.com >> Tweets. If you’re using the Twitter app on an iPhone or Android smartphone >> click on the analytics icon from your tweets.
Do you read all those little alerts when you’re installing a new app? If you’re like most people, you probably just click through all those security questions.
You may be giving apps access to track your location and putting yourself at risk in other ways, too. Fortunately, you can check apps to see what you’ve given them permission to check.
You can see permissions on your iPhone or Android. Here’s how you can see your permissions on most Android devices: Settings >> Apps >> tap an app >> Permissions.
- Security Updates
The good news about modern operating systems is that they usually prompt you from time to time to install security updates. Make sure you allow these security updates because they often protect you against new threats.
To check to see if you have the latest updates on Windows 10, for instance: Click on Start (window icon in the lower-left corner of your screen) >> Settings >> Update & Security >> Check for Updates.