New gadgets may make you vulnerable to hackers

If you got a smart home gadget for Christmas, you may have already turned it on and connected it to the internet. Millions of people have. Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ service even went down because so many people were turning on their device for the first time.

Our consumer technology reporter Jamey Tucker says that’s not the only problem.

Apple and Google removed a fake app in the app stores, that would steal a person’s information when they went to set up a new Alexa device. The app “Setup for Amazon Alexa” was downloaded hundreds, maybe thousands of times. According to 9to5 Mac, this app asked for a user’s computer IP address and serial number for the new Alexa device.

Hackers know millions of new tech gadgets are connecting to the internet for the first time and they’re working overtime to gain access to as many as they can.

Here’s what you need to do to protect yourself and your home.

Change the passwords on any device connecting to the internet. Most of these have a default username and password; some are “username” and “password”.

Bad guys know this. They can open garage doors, listen to conversations, and if it’s a home security camera, they can watch you.

Many of the hacked cameras are streamed live on the internet. It took me less than two minutes to find a hacked webcam watching a man as he works on his computer. It likely happened because he never changed the password.

Some recorded videos are uploaded to YouTube.

A woman in the kitchen, a man getting up from bed. If you are setting up any device that connects to the internet, it’s imperative that you change the username and password that came with it. Hackers hope you’re not watching this…so they can watch you

It’s also important to watch what you click online. Phishing emails are an important step for hackers to access your web cameras.