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Millions of hacked toothbrushes could be used in cyber attack


security lock and toothbrush
lock and toothbrush

Good morning and happy Friday my friend!


OMG, was that just an earthquake?


Well, in other news, I've got a good one for you this week. According to a warning from a Swiss newspaper, internet-connected toothbrushes could be linked together to form what is known as a botnet. This would allow them to perform a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, overloading websites and servers with huge amounts of web traffic.


DDoS attacks can knock down commercial and government websites, potentially disrupting city services and costing companies millions, especially if they're used for e-commerce. Although it sounds crazy, internet-connected or "smart" devices, such as toothbrushes, pose a major problem. If history tells us anything, it's that back in 2014, hackers broke into Target's database, stealing customer financial and personal data through a single internet-connected thermostat—and that was 10 years ago!


The Takeaway

Every device connected to the internet is a potential target and can be misused for an attack. And, if last month's CES tech conference in Las Vegas is any indicator, there's a tsunami of new internet-connected and AI-enabled devices coming to the market—everything from pillows, mirrors, webcams, baby monitors, smart plugs, weather stations, toothbrushes, coffee makers, TVs, appliances, toasters, toilets, belts, salt shakers, cat litter boxes, deodorant, and even rubber slippas!


What to do?

Let's get 1 thing straight - I LOVE smart devices. They let me automate, monitor and optimize so much at home. Here's what I do and you can do too:


1) *All "smart" devices get their own network. Smart devices should not connect to the same WiFi network as the computers you use for homework, banking, email, or office work. Yes, this includes your TVs and smartphones.


2) Keep everything up-to-date. I've noticed that some of these smart gadgets require you to enable automatic updates. Be sure to do this and update the apps on your phone and mobile devices when nagged to do so. If a vulnerability is found and the manufacturer releases a patch, you remain vulnerable if you don't apply these updates.


The number of internet-connected smart devices out there is staggering, and we should use them to make our lives better—just be aware of the risks and configure them correctly.


Tech Tip: Are those apps for all those smart devices starting to add up? Consider getting an inexpensive tablet from Costco or Amazon and keep it in your living room, dedicated to controlling smart devices such as your lights, smart plugs, TV, etc.




PS. If you think this email might be of value to a friend or colleague, feel free to forward it along.


PPS. I get lots of eye rolls on these Friday funnies. Do you have a good one to share? If so, reply and send it on over!


New Friday Funnies


I used to work at the zoo but got let go.  Why?  

There were signs everywhere that said "don't feed the animals" I didn't.



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