A new war: Hackers using your devices to commit crimes

Published: Updated:
FILE: Cyber security

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A cybersecurity expert warns there are new soldiers helping hackers take down the Internet – and they’re hiding in plain sight.

Zohar Pinhasi, CEO of Monster Cloud and an ethical hacker, said any wi-fi device in your home could be used against you. Pinhasi hacks into systems to evaluate their security and then teaches businesses how to protect themselves.

While wireless devices, or as he calls them, ‘internet of things,’ are convenient, they also put us at risk of being hacked.

“When it comes to protecting any internet of things you have to have a firewall, regardless if you’re an office or residential user,” he explained.

Pinhasi demonstrated how he hacked into a baby monitor within seconds. He even changed the default username and password to make it a little harder for him.

Within seconds, he hacked and pulled up the camera on his computer.

Baby cameras, smart TVs, DVRs and any other device that connects to the Internet is a target, he said.

In a WINK News Facebook poll, more than 100 people said the amount of internet-connected devices in their home ranged from two to 20. The average was nine.

“Don’t think it’s not going to happen to me, because that’s usually how it starts,” Pinhasi said. “In the recent attack, I think there were hundreds of thousands of devices which were part of this recent attack.”

The ‘Mirai virus,’ which occurred about two weeks ago, caused spontaneous issues with sites like Paypal, Twitter and Amazon. Hackers injected the virus into wi-fi devices in peoples’ homes and used it to attack the Internet.

“Any internet of things becomes a soldier in a cyber war maybe against the DOJ (Department of Justice), maybe Paypal, maybe against other countries,” he said. “The problem is you don’t know who’s behind it. This type of attack is actually a new type of war.”

Pinhasi says to protect yourself, install a firewall in your home. A good one will cost about $100, he said.

But there is one device a firewall will not protect – a wireless keyboard and mouse. Pinhasi used an antenna and a virus to hack into a computer across the room that was not connected to the Internet.

“The wireless keyboard and mouse over there has vulnerability that was found by a security company recently,” he said. “What I’m doing is taking advantage of that computer’s vulnerability and I’m injecting keystrokes into that computer remotely. I’m injecting it into the USB dongle, which is connected to the computer.”

Pinhasi recommends buying a bluetooth keyboard and mouse or looking for a wireless one that says the information is encrypted.

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