DVRs, webcams, thermostats could be used in cyber-attacks, experts say

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Tech experts believe the massive cyber attack that brought down websites like Twitter, Friday, could've been using devices like your DVR or thermostat in your home.

"You plug up a thermostat and the thermostat may already automatically reach out and start talking to the internet," said Kevin Mabry, CEO of Sentree Systems Inc.

Mabry believes hackers used a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack, sending an army of computer activity to flood specific servers.

"They send a bunch of IP addresses to a website so that a website cannot function" explained Mabry.

It starts with malware. Any device connected to the internet is at risk of receiving malware that will convert your tool into a soldier in the hacker's army. Once the hacker calls on the botnets, they take action.

"That botnet sits dormant," said Mabry. "They don’t want you to know that they’re there."

That's why Mabry insists everyone should make sure their router is protected behind a strong password with a minimum of 12 characters. People should also change their settings to only allow the computers they choose to be able to use their internet.

The last step is to formulate a contingency plan in case a larger portion of the internet goes down. Make sure you have your bank account information stored somewhere outside of your electronic devices so you can access funds if you need to.

"We hear about fire safety, they tell us to have a plan if something happens. We need to do that for the internet as well, because we are so dependent on it. And there are times when things are going to go down," he said.