Shodan shows how hackers can use IoT to snoop on your privacy

Shodan, a search engine for connected devices around the world, lets you see what Internet of Things can do to your privacy, unless you're careful enough or educated enough to use connected gadgets.

Shodan scans the internet for devices like webcams, routers and security systems that are connected to the Web and offers glimpses of what they record, be it webcams in your kitchen garden, your bedroom or your garage via snapshots.

With connected devices with all sorts of functionalities now available around the world, privacy tends to take a back seat when the firmware design and security setups behind such gadgets aren't strong enough for hackers and online voyeurs. Thanks to Shodan, any hacker can easily view what's going on inside your home if your connected webcam doesn't have a password or uses a default one.

However, if you put in complex passwords in all the connected gadgets you own, Shodan won't be able to access your devices and you'll be able to keep hackers at an arm's length. It'll also be better if the vendor from whom you bought such devices keeps bringing in firmware security updates to ensure the devices cannot be hacked into.

If you have a paid or free subscription of Shodan, you can view snaps taken by connected webcams in Korean private lounges, Japanese car parks, French bars and rabbit cages in Germany by putting in the term port:554 has_screenshot:true. A large number of other port links can bring up images of people's homes, private areas, swimming pools, schools and retail stores.

If your webcam isn't updated or doesn't have a password, there's a great chance of people with Shodan subscriptions being able to view what's going on in your home. Internet of Things is great for your personal security and of your family members, but being vigilant at all times will be the key to ensure that it isn't misused.

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