Tis the Season for Identity Theft Protection

Many of us have the latest gadgets and “smart” appliances on our gift lists.  Many are now connected to the wonderful “Internet of Things”.  What I’m sure none of us have on our wish list is getting hacked.  Today’s blog is advice from Consumer Education Specialist Ari Lazarus from the Federal Trade Commission—the division of the Federal government that takes on the responsibility of consumer protection.


Today’s hackers are attacking a lot more than just computers. They’re going after ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) products – like internet connected cameras and refrigerators and using them to create havoc on the internet.


In October, hackers used the “Mirai” malware to attack unsecured IoT devices, turning them into zombie computers to overwhelm and shut down popular websites including Netflix, Paypal and Twitter.


Attacks like that are more than just an inconvenience. They can put your information at risk. So what can you do to reduce the risk of compromise to your home network and smart products?

  • Be mindful of each question during the set up process—DO NOT JUST CLICK “NEXT”. Review the default settings carefully before making a selection, and use the security features for your device. If it allows you to set up a passcode lockout (“three strikes and you’re out”) and enable encryption, you can add a layer of protection to your device.
  • Like you do for your computer and smartphone, download the latest security updates. To be secure and effective, the software that comes with your device needs updates. Before you set up a new device, and periodically afterwards, visit the manufacturer’s website or the device’s settings menu to see if there’s a new version of the software available for download. To make sure you hear about the latest version, register your device with the manufacturer and sign up to get updates.
  • Be sure to create original passwords for each device. The manufacturer may have assigned your device a standard default password. Hackers know the default passwords, so change it to something more complex and secure.


At Legal Shred, we want to do everything we can to help make this year’s holiday season your best ever.  For more on identity theft best practices, please visit legalshred.com or hvshred.com

by Judith