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4 ways to protect your home from hackers

Homes are getting more and more connected, and it could make you a target for criminals.

PHOENIX — Homes are getting more and more connected with everything from your doorbell to your locks to your refrigerator is connected to the internet.

But internet-connected devices can also be vulnerable to hackers and ransomware.

In the Netflix reboot of the movie 'Scream,' the killer doesn't even break into a house. Instead, he (or she, no spoilers) unlocks all the doors in the house remotely. And experts say it's technically possible to do.

But there are ways to keep your internet-connected home safe.

RELATED: Forgot your password? Tech companies hope to offer new security alternatives

Here are four things you should do right now:

  • 1. Change the default name and password

When you get a new Internet-connected device, you should immediately change the default username and password. Anyone wanted to gain control of that device will know the default passwords and can change them. Then, you'll be unable to log in.

  • 2. Pick a random password

Passwords are much harder to guess when they're random and include letters, numbers and symbols. The more random your passwords are, the better. 

  • 3. Use different usernames and passwords for everything

It's going to be confusing, but don't use the same username and password for every device and service. If you do, once a hacker knows one, they have access to everything you own. Instead, change it up 

  • 4. Don't write your passwords down

A piece of paper with your passwords written on it is a cheat sheet for hackers. Instead, get a password app that stores your usernames and passwords, but secures them with a master password or biometric feature. 

"It's really important to understand the motivation of the attacker, as well as their capabilities," John Shier with Sophos, an internet security company, explained. 

Basically, Shier said you're not first on a hacker's target list. You don't have enough money to make it worthwhile which is why ransomware usually targets larger corporations. However, Shier said he has seen ransom attacks against civilians. 

"They're trying to find any angle they can to get money," Shier said. 

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