It’s a hard thought to swallow, but could your home security system be turned against you? What about your web-connected baby monitor? Have you changed the passwords on these devices since you purchased them? If not, Hannah Kuchler writes for the Financial Times that you may be leaving yourself open to cyber spying, or having your devices hijacked, and used against others in what are known as Directed Denial of Service attacks. Make sure you change default passwords on all your internet connected devices. October is Cyber Security awareness month, and there’s no better time than now to check on all your devices to prevent security risks from being realized. Kuchler writes:

Default passwords on devices from the digital video recorder in your living room to the security camera in your office threaten the stability of the internet, as hackers build vast networks of “Internet of Things” devices to bombard websites with traffic.

The attack on Dyn, a domain name service provider, that disrupted access to high-profile sites such as Twitter, Spotify and the New York Times on Friday, highlighted the risks posed by the billions of devices connected to the internet with little or no cyber security protections. Unidentified hackers took over tens of millions of devices using malicious software called Mirai, making the attack much more powerful and harder to defend against than the average distributed denial of service attack.

In a rush of excitement about the prospect of controlling houses and office buildings from smartphones — changing the temperature or detecting burglars using cameras — many manufacturers with little experience of cyber security have connected devices to the internet.

Cybersecurity: Help us protect our devices!