• Patch lady – Alexa should be on her own network

    As a geek I use Alexa enabled devices to turn on and control turning on and off the Christmas Tree and other lights in the house.  “Hey Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree” is all I have to do to turn on the tree rather than crawling underneath and turning on the tree.  I have Internet enabled outdoor controls that turn on the outdoor Christmas lights at exactly sunset and then turn it off at 11 p.m.  But the one thing I do is ensure that my Alexa enabled devices are on a separate router away from my computers and other devices.  My Alexa devices are on a separate IP addressing scheme and thus can’t browse or talk to the devices on my other network.  The Portland FBI office recommends in fact that you separate out the Internet of Things from the rest of your sensitive devices and laptops.

    They also recommend that you review what features your smart TV has and ensure it’s patched and set to update automatically.  Unlike Windows, most smart tvs and internet of things are based on Linux, not Windows and thus installing updates and rebooting are typically less of an issue.

    Finally, be aware of Holiday scams this time of year.  As they note, keep an eye on your credit card and bank account and always monitor the use of both.  Use a credit card, not a debit card when shopping online.  If you see any fraudulent charges, contact your bank immediately.  Sign up for and turn on fraud alerts on your bank accounts.  It may be a slight bother if they deny a large purchase that you really wanted to get, but it saves you from having fraudulent transactions posted to your account.

    Be aware this holiday season…. they are out to get us.