Smart Home Devices Are Easy to Hack. Here's How to Protect Yourself

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Alexa randomly laughing at us might be the least of our smart technology concerns. The latest bad news about smart home devices is that they're easy to hack, according to a team of researchers who did just that to prove these gadgets have serious security issues.

Off-the-shelf home security cameras, baby monitors, doorbells, and thermostats were among the devices hacked by cyber researchers at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel as part of ongoing research into detecting vulnerabilities in smart home technology. Once they broke in, researchers were able to play loud music through a baby monitor, turn on a camera remotely, and more.

"It is truly frightening how easily a criminal, voyeur, or pedophile can take over these devices," Yossi Oren, a senior lecturer in BGU's Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering, said in a press statement. According to Omer Shwartz, a Ph.D. student and member of Oren's lab, "It only took 30 minutes to find passwords for most of the devices, and some of them were found only through a Google search of the brand."

In a recently published paper, BGU researchers identified ways that both manufacturers and users leave their tech open to hackers. Many products come with common, easy-to-guess default passwords, which consumers then don't change, making it easy for hackers to break in. Cybercriminals can also gain access to entire wifi networks just by retrieving the password stored on one device. "It seems getting [smart] products to market at an attractive price is often more important than securing them properly," Oren said.

According to BGU researchers, you can protect yourself from being hacked by only buying from reputable manufacturers and vendors. And although it's tempting to get your device used to save money, secondhand tech might have malware installed. Keep your software updated regularly, and, as always, use strong passwords. The team at BGU recommends choosing a password with a minimum of 16 letters and not using the same password for more than one device.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!