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Tips to increase your privacy on smart home devices

Published: Dec. 9, 2019 at 7:59 AM CST
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A release from the FBI in Oregon warns that hackers can "cyberstalk" you inside your own home through your smart TV. Thousands shared the

online concerned for their cyber safety.

Jeff Lucas is the senior director of technology solutions at High Touch Technologies. He says smart devices like smart TVs, Google Home devices and Amazon devices have access to your data and share that data. He says while it's mostly for targeted marketing, you should still increase the privacy settings on the devices.

Lucas says the default privacy settings are likely low. When you're connecting the device to your internet network, walk through each step and make sure it's the settings that you want. "It is important that as you set them up, don't just 'yes, yes, yes continue, continue' and drive through it, because they may be setting up those things to share more of your data than you want," Lucas says.

He says turning off the camera and microphone add another layer of security, although it takes away some of the "smart" capabilities.

He recommends reading through the manual that comes with the device, and even looking online at some consumer blogs for recommendations before you set it up. "Especially during the holiday season, you get that new, neat device and you're ready to set it up, and you want to get started with it. So you get it set up Christmas morning, you want to get it set up as fast as you can. Maybe the better option is to make sure you've got a couple of hours to read and research or do your research ahead of time."

Lucas says each device should also have a strong password. He says the strongest passwords are 12-15 characters long. They contain at least two of out the three: special characters, numbers and capital letters. He encourages not putting the capital letter at the beginning and the number at the end, as that's common and makes it easier to hack.

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