PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Brewing coffee from bed, adjusting the temperature on your slow cooker from anywhere, checking a baby monitor on your cell phone; those are just some of the things you can do with connected devices and an app on your smartphone and tablet.
But Consumer Reports says Wi-Fi monitors and other cameras are at risk for being hacked or viewed by strangers on the internet.
Recently, Consumer Reports found a website that’s dedicated to streaming cameras that aren’t password protected. An unprotected camera is worse than no camera at all. You need to protect it with a password. And that goes for any device out there that collects personal information about you.
There are many connected devices that collect your personal info and send it over the Internet. For example, activity trackers know how much you move and could even know your location using GPS. And smart thermostats know when you’re home and when you’re not.
Some of that may not seem troubling, but a burglar armed with that info could know when you leave the house. While there’s no evidence that criminals are using that kind of data yet, Consumer Reports says you can reduce the amount of your information that’s collected.
If you don’t plan to use the connected features on a product, buy the non-connected version or just don’t set it up on your Wi-Fi network. Remember, if it’s not hooked up to a network, it’s not sending your information to the Internet. Consumer Reports also says you should turn off connected devices when you’re not using them. If they’re not live, they’re not sending out your data.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars and trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.