Keeping you safer online

We love smart devices! Wireless indoor and outdoor home security cameras and motion sensors, baby monitors, toys, light switches and bulbs, window blinds, home thermostats, fire alarms, toothbrushes and even fishing rods controlled by smartphone apps are growing in popularity.


According to the security firm Allot, there are now 7 billion smart devices in use, the most common of which are smart TVs. But these app-controlled devices can easily expose you and your family to hackers.


  • In early May, according to Sophos, researchers discovered a flaw in software used by two million wireless home devices that allow hackers to control them.

  • In April, Bloomberg reported that Amazon Alexa team members around the globe had access to users’ personal information gathered by Alexa devices.

  • In 2017, hackers took control of a wireless fish tank thermometer in a Las Vegas casino and hacked into the hotel’s database of gamblers.

New York University Cybersecurity Professor Judith Germano says smart devices are convenient, but she says many manufacturers try to get new products out the door quickly rather than focusing on your safety.

Click on the blue arrow to listen.

Germano recommends giving your home Wi-Fi network a name that does not identify you as the owner. And keep your Wi-Fi software up-to-date.

Click on the blue arrow to listen.

What does Professor Germano do to keep her family safer?

Click on the blue arrow to listen.

Click the image below 

to download and print these tips.

GDC _ Smart Devices.001.jpeg

WhatsApp, the instant messaging app owned by Facebook and used by 1.5 billion people worldwide, has been breached. The sophisticated hack gives crooks access to cameras, microphones and personal information on an as-yet-unknown number of users' phones.


If you use WhatsApp on your personal iPhone or Android phone, you should visit the app store, search for "WhatsApp" and update it to the newest version

Beware of an email that appears to come from your employer's personnel department or payroll service. in some cases, the email instructs you to update the bank account where your paycheck is direct deposited. Entering your account information gives fraudsters access to it.

Or in the example below, the email instructs you to click and download a document from the "payroll company." Doing so will install malware on the computer. 

You can spot clues that this is a phishing email by grabbing the slider bar below and dragging it from left to right.

Source: IBM Security

The Information Technology team at GDC is committed to keeping you safe online, at work and at home. GDC Aware Force is a resource to keep you informed and alert you of some of the most recent cyber security threats. Our goal is to enhance security awareness and reduce the threat risk and loss of data, keeping you, your colleagues and Georgia residents safer.

If you have a question about cyber security or would like to alert us to suspicious activity online or at the office, please email the GDC Office of Information Technology team anytime, at

Timothy C. Ward


Georgia Department of Corrections

Dan Brown

CIO, Director of

Information Technology

Georgia Department of Corrections

Ernest Bedsaul

Information Security Officer

Georgia Department of Corrections

In the upcoming edition of Cybersecurity News
from the IT team at GDC:
The biggest misconceptions about using your computer safely.

Cyber Cartoon: © Marketoonist

May 2019 b • Edition #70

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