Mandiant, a division of FireEye, has reported that it has discovered a vulnerability in a software protocol that enables hackers to gain access to audio and visual data on smart devices including baby monitors and web cameras. The protocol was created  by Taiwanese Internet of Things vendor ThroughTek, and is incorporated in as many as 83 million devices.

According to reports, ThroughTek has confirmed that it has notified customers of the vulnerability and information about mitigating the gap.

According to Mandiant, the threat actor could exploit the vulnerability to communicate directly with devices to plan and deploy subsequent attacks. Mandiant stated that the Department of Homeland Security would be issuing an alert to raise awareness of the issue.

It is difficult as a consumer to stay abreast of vulnerabilities in component parts of products that use other companies’ software. However, the security of the component parts is crucial to the security of the IoT device.

Mandiant suggests that users of IoT devices, including baby monitors, web cameras, home security systems, personal assistants, and basically anything else that uses the Internet, to update their software (also known as patching) as soon as you receive notice. I would add to limit the use of IoT devices and to closely follow the device’s Privacy Policy and updates.