Protecting your new high tech holiday gift from hackers

Hillsborough County

YBOR CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – Whether it’s a virtual voice assistant or a home camera system, many popular holiday gifts that rely on internet connectivity come with the inherent risk of being hacked.

8 On Your Side spoke with Adam Sheffield, the CEO of The Undercroft cybersecurity guild about ways to protect your privacy from someone who could be lurking on the other end of your device.

“Operate under the assumption that anything is vulnerable,” Sheffield said.

Sheffield’s expert advice is to set up a second network at home, specifically for your new smart device.

“Basically creates a system where if somebody were to take advantage of a vulnerability in a Ring camera or an Alexa device or a Google device, it would be much harder for them to hop over to our personal network where we might have more personal information,” Sheffield explained.

When setting up a camera system, Sheffield said you should be mindful of the locations you select in your home.

“I would not want that sitting behind my work station in my personal office for example,” he told 8 On Your Side, “Because then if somebody was able to remotely access that they could see what’s on my screen be able to gather passwords that’s written down.”

All it takes is someone learning your log-in and password to hack into a device. Experts say it is best to use different passwords for different devices and to change them up from time to time.

Sheffield’s daughter is waiting for her new Amazon Alexa to arrive. He said he believes the value outweighs the risk.

“My daughter can immediately access information for her homework or if she’s working on an art project,” Sheffield said. “Could someone get into that system and start talking to her? Yes, I can unplug that very easily.”

If you received a new smart device make sure to download the WFLA News app.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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