A fish tank thermometer led to a casino getting hacked; how to keep your smart devices safe


ST. LOUIS– From Alexas to smart thermostats, the number of items in your home connected to the internet is likely growing. An increase in connected items can lead to a target-rich environment for hackers, and one casino found that out the hard way.

Entrepreneur recently published an article about a casino that got hacked because of a smart thermometer. While the attack happened in 2018, Scott Schaffer with Blade Technologies says it serves as a good reminder to understand how your devices work.

In the case of the thermometers, the hackers found a security flaw on the device and were able to access the casino’s wifi network.

Schaffer says the hackers were able to access a high-roller database. While that database may not contain highly sensitive information, the hackers could have sold it to a competitor to make money.

Schaffer says by 2025, analysts predict there will be 31 billion connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Those are devices that contain sensors and the ability to transfer information collected across networks.

Here are some things a home user can do to protect themselves:

  • Read the documentation on every new device connected to your network
  • Do additional research on the device online
  • Always change the default password for the device

If you are business owner, Schaffer recommends having a network assessment. He said the cybersecurity expert should evaluate all connected devices.

He says that includes HVAC controls, smart speakers, coffee machines, light bulbs, and things employees may have brought in you aren’t aware are connected.

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