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Is your fridge spying on you?

Cyber criminals are now targeting homeowners through increasingly bizarre objects – from teddy bears to fridges, a Shropshire insurance expert has warned.

Dave Williams of Henshalls Insurance Brokers in Newport and Shrewsbury said cyber thieves were relentless, and constantly searching for new methods to launch an attack.

“You may think your home is safe once you’ve locked the door and turned on your security alarm, but it’s time to think again. Everyday objects are now being regularly used to access information.

“For instance, smart refrigerators now have a built-in computer that lets you view your calendar, write a grocery list, and even play music and videos. And they can also allow cyber criminals to gain access to your home’s internet, infiltrate your accounts and send out malicious emails.”

Mr Williams said would-be thieves were also gaining access to wi-fi printers so that they can view what documents have been printed as well as gaining access to any device linked to the printer.

“Unbelievably your children’s toys can also be a target – smart dolls and teddy bears have sensors installed in them that transmit data, such as audio recordings and a child’s vital signs.

“A hacker may be able to not only gain access to the information stored inside the doll or bear, but also implant their own audio messages in the toy.”

Mr Williams said motorists were also at risk as cyber criminals could exploit a vehicle’s wi-fi connection to change the radio station, work the windscreen wipers and even more frighteningly, cut the gearbox and disable the brakes.

“Your sat-nav is another weak spot as hackers can track your movements or even alter the directions to your destination to any location they choose.

“You need to have robust cyber security systems in place, as well as installing anti-virus and anti-malware software, and consider taking out the appropriate insurance to cover your online activities to ensure you have the maximum protection.

“Don’t just assume that you’re safe once you close that front door behind you – your home is full of objects that cyber criminals are exploiting and they’re getting braver and more resourceful all the time.”

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