Owners of smart home devices equipped with speakers, microphones and cameras, have been warned by US law enforcement agencies to update software and enable two-factor authentication to prevent them from being hacked as part of a growing trend called ‘swatting’.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) made the recent public service announcement after an increase in swatting attacks, where offenders make hoax calls to emergency services to report an immediate threat to human life, prompting armed special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams to descend upon the given location, according to BBC News.
The offenders, using stolen email passwords to hack into smart devices then livestream the unfolding events as law enforcement officers arrive at the location, sometimes charging $5 for others to view the incident. Hackers have also been known to then further antagonise officers using the smart devices’ speakers.
The FBI’s announcement read: “Users should enable two-factor authentication for their online accounts and on all devices accessible through an Internet connection in order to reduce the chance a criminal could access their devices
“It is highly recommended that the user’s second factor for two-factor or multi-factor authentication be a mobile device number and not a secondary email account.”
The advice highlighted the reasons why passwords should also be unique, and not used on multiple platforms, especially email accounts.
The FBI has been collaborating with smart device manufactures and law enforcement first responders to help spread the message to customers about the scheme and how to avoid becoming the latest victim. Device manufacturers recently notified law enforcement of offenders using stolen email passwords for the swatting attacks.
The hack can provide offenders with information about your home and can highlight any potential weaknesses in your home security.
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