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How to Prevent Phone Hacking and Protect Your Cell Phone

Traditionally a headache reserved for celebrities, smartphone-hacking concerns have crossed the VIP vs. everyone else blood-brain barrier and are now a legitimate concern for anyone who owns a cell phone.

But is this really a serious problem for us regular folks? Are our voicemail messages so interesting that someone would invade our privacy to listen in? Before we go barking up the narcissism tree, it’s best to examine what phone hacking is and whether you really need to worry about it.

The Security Risks of Phone Hacking

There are many types of phone hacking methods, ranging from hacking into a live conversation or into someone’s voicemail, and to hacking into data stored on one’s smartphone. While the fear of the unknown can keep anyone on edge, the person most likely to hack into your live conversation or voicemail will be someone that you already know, and in today’s mobile world, phone hacking continually grows as a security issue. As people increasingly store sensitive data on their mobile devices, the opportunity to exploit privacy weaknesses becomes more tempting to unscrupulous frenemies, exes or the occasional stranger.

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There is a cottage industry of phone hacking software, ostensibly developed for legal uses, but that can be easily abused by anyone (password crackers aptly named John the Ripper and Cain and Abel are two examples). Opportunistic hackers can wreak havoc with data deletion or install malicious software that gathers bank account logins and confidential business emails. So, how can you make things tougher for hackers?

How to Secure Your Phone From Hackers

If you want to be proactive, there are several measures you can take to protect yourself against phone hacking, most of which involve common sense. In addition, there are advanced methods to ensure that your phone is as secure as possible (without losing its full functionality). For example:

Basic Phone Security Tips

For casual phone users, adhering to the basics is a great place to start when it comes to blocking simple hacking efforts:

  • Never leave your phone unattended. Keeping your phone with you at all times while in a public place is the first, best rule to follow.
  • Change your phone’s default passcode. Your phone likely comes with a simple, predictable default password, and those who know can use this to their advantage. Change your code to something more complex, and resist the usual "," "" and “” codes that are commonly used.
  • Manage your Bluetooth Security. Avoid using unprotected Bluetooth networks and turn off your Bluetooth service when you aren’t using it.
  • Protect your PIN and Credit Card data. Use a protected app to store PIN numbers and credit cards, or better yet, don’t store them in your phone at all.

Advanced Ways to Prevent Phone Hacking

If you’re still worried about hacking, there are further steps you can take to protect yourself. However, taking things too far will defeat the purpose of having a smartphone at all.

  • Avoid unsecured public WiFi. Hackers often target important locations such as bank accounts via public WiFi that can often be unsecured due to relaxed safety standards or even none at all.
  • Turn off your autocomplete feature. By doing this, you can prevent stored critical personal data from being accessed.
  • Regularly delete your browsing history, cookies, and cache. Removing your virtual footprint is important in minimizing the amount of data that can be harvested by prying eyes.
  • Have an iPhone? Enable Find My iPhone. By turning the feature on in your settings, you’ll be able to locate your phone if you misplace it before the hackers can lay their paws on it.
  • Use a security app that increases protection. For Android owners, Webroot offers the all-in-one Mobile Security for Android app that provides antivirus protection and allows you to remotely locate, lock up and wipe your phone in the event you lose track of it. For iOS users, Webroot also offers a free secure web browser for increased mobile security on your iPhone and iPad.

Remember—if the thought of hacking has you tossing and turning at night, you can just turn the phone off, remove the battery and hide it under your pillow for some sweet lithium-ion induced dreams. Or, you can double down on securing your mobile devices with mobile security solutions offering secure web browsing and real-time defense against phishing attacks.

Cybersecurity Comparison Kit

Sours: https://www.webroot.com/us/en/resources/tips-articles/how-to-prevent-phone-hacking-and-sleep-like-a-baby-again

How to Protect Your Phone from Being Hacked

Phone hacking can compromise your identity and privacy without you even knowing. Fraudsters continuously evolve and improve hacking methods, making them increasingly harder to spot. This means the average user might be blind sighted by any number of cyberattacks. Fortunately, you can protect yourself by staying up to date on the newest hacks.

Smartphones have brought all our private accounts and data into a single, convenient location — making our phones the perfect target for a hacker. Everything from banking to email and social media is linked into your phone. Which means that once a criminal gets access to your phone, all your apps are open doors for cybertheft.

What is Phone Hacking?

Phone hacking involves any method where someone forces access into your phone or its communications. This can range from advanced security breaches to simply listening in on unsecured internet connections. It can also involve physical theft of your phone and forcibly hacking into it via methods like brute force. Phone hacking can happen to all kinds of phones, including Androids and iPhones. Since anyone can be vulnerable to phone hacking, we recommend that all users learn how to identify a compromised device.

How to Know If Someone is Hacking Your Phone

One or more of these could be a red flag that some has breached your phone:

  1. Your phone loses charge quickly. Malware and fraudulent apps sometimes use malicious code that tends to drain a lot of power.
  2. Your phone runs abnormally slowly. A breached phone might be giving all its processing power over to the hacker’s shady applications. This can cause your phone to slow to a crawl. Unexpected freezing, crashes, and unexpected restarts can sometimes be symptoms.
  3. You notice strange activity on your other online accounts. When a hacker gets into your phone, they will try to steal access to your valuable accounts. Check your social media and email for password reset prompts, unusual login locations or new account signup verifications.
  4. You notice unfamiliar calls or texts in your logs. Hackers may be tapping your phone with an SMS trojan. Alternatively, they could be impersonating you to steal personal info from your loved ones. Keep an eye out, since either method leaves breadcrumbs like outgoing messages.
how to keep your smartphone protected from hackers

What to Do If You’re Smartphone Has Been Hacked

You’ve learned how to identify if someone is hacking your phone. Now, you’re ready to fight back. Here’s how you cut those cybercriminals out of your personal tech.

First, you’ve got to eliminate any malware that’s infiltrated your device. Once you’ve rooted out the data breach, you can start protecting your accounts and keeping hackers out of your phone.

How to Remove the Hacker from Your Phone

These might include:

  • Online banking
  • Email (work and personal)
  • Apple ID or Google account
  • Phone passcode
  • All social media

Also follow up with any financial or online shopping services that have saved your credit cards or banking details (such as Amazon, eBay, etc.) This will help you to pinpoint any fraudulent transactions and be sure to report and dispute these charges with your bank.

keeping your smartphone safe from hackers

How to Stop Someone from Hacking Your Phone Again

Phone hacking security is increasingly important as more of our personal info becomes digitized and mobile-connected. Since methods are constantly evolving, you will have to be ever vigilant with security.

Being mindful of your digital behavior is the best way to protect yourself and fortunately, there are many known practices that have been proven to lower hacking risks.

How to Protect Your Phone from Being Hacked

Don’t download sketchy or unreputable apps. Look at reviews and research before installing if you are unsure. If you’re not confident in safety of app, do not install it.

Don’t jailbreak your phone. While it allows you to download from unofficial app stores, jailbreaking ups your risk of unknowingly getting hacked. Aside from malware or spyware, this means you’ll miss security patches in the latest OS updates. Jailbreakers skip updates to keep the jailbreak functional. This makes your risks of being hacked even higher than normal.

Keep your phone with you at all times. Physical access is the easiest way for a hacker to corrupt your phone. Theft and a single day of effort could result in your phone being breached. If you can keep your phone with you, a hacker will have to work much harder to get into it.

Always use a passcode lock and use complex passwords. Do not use easily guessable PINs, like birthdays, graduation dates, or basic defaults like “” or “” Use an extended passcode if available, like those with 6 characters. Don’t ever reuse a password in more than one place.

Don’t store passwords on your device. Remembering unique passwords for every account can be difficult. So use a secure password manager instead, like Kaspersky Password Manager. These services allow you to store all your secure credentials in a digital vault — giving you easy access and the security you need.

Frequently clear your internet history. It can be simple to profile trends about your life from all the breadcrumbs of your browser history. So, clear everything, including cookies and cache.

Enable a lost device tracking service. If you lose track of your device out in public, you can use a lost device finder to trace its current location. Some phones have a native application for this, while others may need a third-party app to add this feature.

Keep all apps up to date. Even trusted apps can have programming bugs that hackers exploit. App updates come with bug fixes to protect you from known risks. The same applies to your OS, so update your phone itself when you can.

Always enable two-factor authentication (2FA). This is a second verification method that follows an attempt to use your password. 2FA uses another private account or something you physically have. Apple ID and Google accounts offer 2FA in case your device is used by unsavory actors, so always activate it for more security. Biometrics like fingerprints and face ID are becoming popular options. Physical USB keys are also a great choice when available.

Be cautious about using text or email for your 2FA. Text message and email 2FA are better than no protection but might be intercepted through hacks like SIM swapping.

Don’t use public Wi-Fi without a virtual private network (VPN). Products like Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection encrypt and anonymize your data so unwanted viewers can’t see it.

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How to remove a hacker from your smartphone


Should you worry about phone hacking? Learn how to stop someone from hacking your smartphone and keep prying eyes away from your private life and data.

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Sours: https://www.kaspersky.com/resource-center/threats/how-to-stop-phone-hacking
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Ultrasonic Attack Device Hacks Phones through Solid Objects

Voice assistants allow smartphone users to snap a photograph or send a text with a spoken command. Yet they also potentially let hackers do the same things by bombarding the device’s microphone with ultrasonic waves (sounds with frequencies higher than humans can hear). Researchers have previously demonstrated how they could trick a phone by sending these waves through the air, but the approach required proximity to the victim and was easily disrupted by nearby objects. Now a new technique called SurfingAttack can send ultrasonic waves through solid objects. It could enable potential snoops to avoid obstacles and perform more invasive tasks—including stealing text messages and making calls from a stranger’s phone.

To test this method, researchers hid a remotely controllable attack device on the underside of a metal tabletop, where it could send ultrasonic waves through the table to trigger a phone lying flat on its surface. “We are using solid materials to transmit these ultrasonic waves,” says Qiben Yan, a computer scientist at Michigan State University. “We can activate your voice assistant placed on the tabletop, read your private messages, extract authentication pass codes from your phone or even call your friends.” The experiment, described in a paper presented at the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS) in February, worked on 17 popular smartphone models, including ones manufactured by Apple, Google, Samsung, Motorola, Xiaomi and Huawei.

Voice assistants typically pick up audible commands through the microphone on a smart speaker or cellular device. A few years ago, researchers discovered that they could modulate voice commands to the ultrasonic frequency range. Though inaudible to humans, these signals could still work with a device’s speech-recognition system. One ultrasonic hack, presented at a computer security conference in , used these “silent” commands to make Apple’s assistant Siri start a FaceTime call and to tell Google Now to activate a phone’s airplane mode. That kind of intrusion relied on a speaker placed at a maximum of five feet from the victim’s device, but a later ultrasonic technique presented at a networking conference in increased the distance to about 25 feet. Still, all of these techniques sent their signals through the air, which has two drawbacks: It requires visibly conspicuous speakers or speaker arrays. And any objects that come between the signal source and target device can disrupt the attack.

Sending ultrasonic vibrations through solid objects allows SurfingAttack to avoid these issues. “The environment is affecting our attack a lot less effectively, in our scenario, than in previous work that’s over the air,” says Ning Zhang, a computer scientist at Washington University in St. Louis. With airborne ultrasonic waves, “if somebody walks by, say in the airport or coffee shop, that signal would be blocked—versus, for our attack, it doesn’t matter how many things are placed on the table.” In addition, the researchers note, their method is less visible and consumes less power than an air-based speaker because its ultrasonic waves emanate from a small device that sticks to the bottom of a table. Yan estimates it could cost less than $ to build. Another feature of SurfingAttack is that it can both send and receive ultrasonic signals. This arrangement lets it extract information—such as text messages—in addition to ordering the phone to perform tasks.

“I think it’s a really intriguing paper, because now [such hacking] doesn’t need in-air propagation of the signals,” says Nirupam Roy, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Maryland, College Park, who did not contribute to the new study. He also praises the measures the researchers took to ensure that as the ultrasonic signal moved through the tabletop, the material did not produce any noises that might alert the phone’s owner. “Any vibrating surface, even the signal that is flowing through the solid, can leak out some audible signal in the air. So they have shown some techniques to minimize that audible leakage and to keep it really inaudible to the [phone’s] user.”

To avoid falling prey to bad actors, the researchers suggest phone owners could limit the access they give their AI assistants. What an attacker can do “really depends on how much the user is depending on the voice assistant to perform day-to-day activities,” Zhang says. “So if you give your Siri access to your artificial pancreas to inject insulin, then [you’re in] big trouble, because we can ask it to inject a ridiculous amount of insulin. But if you’re a more cautious person and say, ‘Hey, I only want Siri to be able to ask questions from the Internet and tell me jokes,’ then it’s not a big deal.”

Another way to prevent SurfingAttack, specifically, would be to swaddle one’s device in a squishy foam case or to place it only on cloth-covered surfaces. These materials muffled the ultrasonic signal more effectively than common rubber phone cases, which failed to prevent successful hacks. A more effective fix, however, might be to simply avoid setting one’s phone down in public spaces. “A lot of people are just placing their phones on the table without taking care,” Yan says. “I just came from a Chicago airport. I saw a lot of people putting their phones [down to charge] on a metal table, unattended.”

But Zhang is less concerned about ultrasonic devices being planted at random public tables, because this approach would require a lot more work than, say, sending a phishing e-mail. “From my previous experience in the industry, an attack generally takes a lot of effort,” he says. “And if it’s not worth it, nobody would do it.” Hackers would not bother to develop and program SurfingAttack devices unless they were highly motivated to extract information from a specific individual, Zhang suggests, “so I don't think we’ll see a lot of people attaching ultrasound speakers below [a coffee shop] table.”

Whether or not SurfingAttack makes its way into the daily world, its existence could serve as a warning to developers of voice assistants. As Roy explains, experiments like this serve to “reveal a new kind of threat.” Such studies usually rely on experiments that take place in labs, which means the environment is more controlled than it would be in real life. But complete realism is not the goal. Instead research like this aims to expose vulnerabilities in principle—so developers can fix them before hackers find them. “Researchers who are working to reveal these kinds of attacks earlier, before the attacker, they’re doing a fantastic job to identify these loopholes in our system,” he says.

Sours: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ultrasonic-attack-device-hacks-phones-through-solid-objects/
Hack All The Things: 20 Devices in 45 Minutes

Bluetooth is an amazingly useful wireless technology built into almost every smartphone, tablet and laptop. We can use it to transfer files, play audio wirelessly, collect health data from wearable trackers and more. But like WiFi, Bluetooth is being targeted by hackers as a way to break into your devices and steal personal data.

Because it is so useful, most of us keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled on our devices all the time. However, this could be making us potential targets of ‘bluebugging’, a technique to attack your device through Bluetooth.

How does Bluetooth hacking work?

Hackers use specialised software which automatically detects nearby devices equipped with Bluetooth. They can also see which networks your device has previously connected to; this is important because your phone treats these networks as trusted and will connect to them automatically in future.

If the cybercriminals can replicate a trusted network, they can trick your device into connecting to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices that they control. The hackers can then bombard your device with malware, spy on you and even steal your data from your text messages and apps.

What else could happen?

Once a smartphone has been compromised, the hacker can intercept and redirect phone calls, access bank details, send or receive files or simply watch what you are doing in real time.

Where can this occur?

Bluebugging is often performed in busy public places, often where there are a lot of routine commuters. Choosing a busy place allows them to remain undetected and to monitor the same devices which pass by regularly. Hackers may also choose places where people linger for several hours like cafes, pubs and restaurants.

What does bluebugging look like?

Dorset Police recently discovered an instance of bluebugging in the busy seaside town of Bournemouth. Local residents began reporting incidents where they were receiving automated messages and files from unknown senders as they walked through the city.

Early investigations suggest that the unknown files were malware, designed to break into the recipients’ phones and steal data.

What can you do to keep safe?

Dorset Police issued some guidance to Bournemouth residents – advice that we can all use to avoid becoming victims of bluebugging.

First, disable Bluetooth on your devices whenever it is not in use. Second, disable file-sharing services that rely on Bluetooth like AirDrop or Fast Share unless you are sending or receiving files from a trusted friend.

Limiting access to Bluetooth services makes it much harder (if not impossible) to be a victim of bluebugging.

Finally, ensure you have an antimalware app installed on your smartphone, tablet and Bluetooth-enabled computers. In the event that a hacker does try to break into your device, the antimalware app will detect and block suspicious activity, protecting your privacy and personal data.

Fortunately, bluebugging attacks are still not very common – but that could quickly change. Take action to protect yourself today by downloading a copy of Panda Free Antivirus – it’s completely free!

Sours: https://www.pandasecurity.com/en/mediacenter/mobile-news/hackers-targeting-bluetooth/

Devices hack nearby


Every malicious attack method used to attack PCs is now being rewritten to hack mobile devices. How are the hackers getting to your mobile phone?

Here are five common ways hackers are accessing your mobile data:


Once used primarily to gain access to a PC without the owner’s consent, malware is making its way onto mobile devices. As on a PC, you can be duped into downloading the malware to your mobile device as it’s often disguised as the newest game or productivity app and even offered by people impersonating technical support agents.


From most PC’s points of view, mobile devices are viewed as just another storage device, like a flash drive. So when you synchronize your phone with your PC, some types of malware can jump to (orpotentially from) your mobile device.

Buffer Overflows

When a program tries to store more data in a buffer (temporary storage area) than it was intended to hold, it overwrites adjacent memory. This is caused by a programming error, but a side effect of the error can lead to a common type of security attack. These buffer overflows affect data integrity and/or can lead to privilege escalation or remote code execution attacks on PCs. We’re beginning to see buffer overflows on mobile devices, too.

Denial of Service Attacks

These types of attacks, aimed at making computer resources unavailable to their intended users, once focused solely on PCs. They’re now occurring in the mobility space.


Morphed for mobility, Phishing now includes and it can be carried out via text message. uses cell phone text messages to bait you into divulging personal information. For example, you might receive a text message requesting that you call an unfamiliar phone number, or that you go to a URL to enter or a message that prompts you to download software to your phone.

Sours: https://www.business.att.com/learn/tech-advice/5-ways-hackers-get-to-your-mobile-device.html

Here’s how to know if your phone is hacked

  • Phones are an easy target for hackers to steal personal information or track your activities.
  • Look out for suspicious activities on your phone.
  • Reset your phone if you sense it has been compromised.
As we use our phones to perform most of the tasks online, our privacy and data are at risk. Fraudsters can compromise your phone’s security to track your activities or extract confidential data from your device that can be sold or held to draw out ransom from the victim or find other ways to monetize it.

As per a report by Norton, Apple offers better security to iOS users, but this doesn’t mean that they cannot be hacked. Android phones are more prone to hacking and as per Malwarebytesreport, there has been a rise in pre-installed malware and adware on the devices of Android users, with the goal to either steal data or steal attention.

To keep your privacy protected you must always keep a check on your phone’s behaviour.

Here’s how to know if your phone is hacked

  1. Inappropriate pop-ups: If you see inappropriate or X-rated advertisements pop-ups on your mobile phone, it could suggest that your phone has been compromised.
  2. Calls or messages you have not initiated: If there are unknown calls and messages initiated from your phone, it could indicate that your device has been hacked.
  3. Exponentially high data usage: If your data bill is higher than usual without you increasing your online activities, it is likely that your phone is hacked and the fraudster is using your phone’s data to run apps in the background.
  4. Draining of battery: The battery life of your phone decreases with time, but if the battery drains at an alarming rate, you must take note.
  5. Poor performance: If your phone shows sluggish performance like crashing of apps, freezing of the screen and unexpected restarts, it is a sign of a hacked device.
  6. Unrecognised apps: If you notice any unrecognised applications downloaded on your device, it could be the work of a hacker.
  7. Unusual activity on social accounts: If there are unrecognised activities on your social media or emails account that are connected to your phone, it could mean that a hacker has gained access to the device and it could lead to identity theft.
  8. No calls or messages: If you stop receiving calls or messages, the hacker must have got your SIM card cloned from the service provider.
You can protect your phone from hacking by being mindful of various applications and activities on your device. If you notice any of the above processes that suggest your phone is compromised, perform the following tasks to ward off the hackers.

What can you do if your phone is hacked?

Here’s what you should do if your phone is hacked


  1. Delete unrecognised applications: Check the inventory of apps and delete all suspicious apps that you do not recognise.
  2. Run anti-malware applications: You can run trustworthy anti-malware apps that help detect malware and get rid of them.
  3. Reset your phone: Resetting your phone is the easiest way to get rid of the malware.
  4. Reset your passwords: Change the password of accounts connected to your phone to prevent the hacker from collecting your personal data.
  5. Inform your contacts: Let your contacts know that your phone is compromised, and they must not click any suspicious messages received from your phone.
  6. Unroot your phone: If you are using a rooted version of Android, you must unroot it using the SuperSU app.
  7. Contact service-provider: If you stop receiving calls and messages on your phone, it could mean a hacker is using a cloned SIM card. Contact your service provider to resolve the issue.
You must also keep away from connecting to unknown public Wi-Fi, clicking on inappropriate pop-ups, and suspicious ads to protect your phone from getting hacked.

Sours: https://www.businessinsider.in/tech/mobile/how-to/how-to-check-if-your-phone-is-hacked-or-not/articleshow/cms

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By Jesus Diaz3 minute Read

Thirty minutes. That&#x;s the time it took a team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University in Israel to access security cameras, baby monitors, doorbells, thermostats, and other internet-of-things, not-so-smart devices. It didn&#x;t require any special hacking techniques. Anyone can do it.

The only tools you need are at least one finger&#x;a nose will work too&#x;to type the brand and model of whatever device you want to hack, and a connected web browser. Put that information into a Google search box and, within a few minutes, you will find a site or a forum post somewhere describing how to enter into that device using the manufacturer&#x;s default administration user name and password. Any pedophile, thief, ex-spouse, or regular Peeping Tom can use this information to gain access to any of these devices installed in your home. A government or criminal organization can also use these user/password combos to control many devices at once, in order to mine data, spy, or launch global internet attacks.

The research was led by Yossi Oren, who is in charge of the Implementation Security and Side-Channel Attacks Lab at [email protected] With his colleagues, he analyzed 16 popular high- and low-end IoT devices, using different reverse-engineering techniques that show how easy it is to extract the default hard-coded passwords of any machine when you have physical access to it.

The team added those passwords to the list of codes in a laboratory version of Mirai&#x;a famous botnet malware specifically created to enter and control hundreds of thousands of IoT devices for organized massive attacks. Then they demonstrated how easily you can infect devices of the same model at the same time.

The team also discovered that you don&#x;t need to do all that hacking yourself: Hackers everywhere use the same processes as soon as they hit the market, then they share the password information publicly. Like them and within seconds, Oren and his team had full access to all of the devices&#x; hardware capabilities, so they were able to play loud music through a baby monitor, turn off a thermostat, and turn on a camera remotely.

Oren and his team give some recommendations if you really mustuse these type of devices: Buy them from reputable vendors (are there any? We don&#x;t know. The research team doesn&#x;t make any recommendations, and we know that even high-end hardware has security holes), don&#x;t buy them secondhand because they may already have malware installed, update firmware that patches security holes, and, perhaps the most important one, change the default password. This is, in the end, the way these researchers were able to get into all these devices.

Which brings us to a very basic question: Couldn&#x;t this all be solved with a simple user experience design change? If the main security hole in thousands of millions of devices is the fact people leave the default user and password unchanged, couldn&#x;t companies force buyers to set their own, making them create character (or more) pass-phrases and full user names? It would only take one single screen at the beginning of the smart device&#x;s setup process. People will not think this is weird. It&#x;s just like when we create a user and a password the first time we turn on a new computer. Of course, changing the default user and password is not going to solve bad security architecture, like leaving backdoors open for remote administration or poor firewall design, but it will help with these more basic security breaches. It&#x;s time companies take this kind of measure, even if they sacrifice convenience in the process. Short of that, we, as consumers, would be wise to consider this advice from the Ben-Gurion team: Carefully consider the benefits and risks of connecting a device to the internet. In other words: Don&#x;t use this crap until all these companies fix it.

Sours: https://www.fastcompany.com//you-can-hack-almost-any-smart-device-with-a-google-search

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