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In Defense of Devices: Cyber Security Concerns Spread Beyond Your Phone

We’re always hearing about the connected future, an “Internet of Things” (IoT) where our smartphones and tablets are joined online by ever more devices: cameras, TVs, microwaves and fridges, even baby monitors. It sounds great, but every one of those internet-connected devices is another security concern, as Symantec’s 2014 Internet Security Threat Report demonstrates only too clearly.

As the report states, last year saw high-profile hacks of baby monitors, security cameras and even home routers by cybercriminals. Meanwhile, security researchers dug around in the software of other devices and found ways to attack smart televisions, cars and – most horrifying of all – medical equipment. That doesn’t mean criminals are actively doing so just yet, and the potential financial gain from hacking certain devices is debatable, but the rapid adoption of connected devices means a growing number of relatively untested targets.

Protecting against attacks

 

In the future, manufacturers must thoroughly invest in and prioritise proper robust security features, especially with the amount of data these devices collect and store on users. They are improving in this regard, but right now the onus is largely on you, the user, to adopt best practices and take the necessary precautions.

With criminals turning back to old-fashioned worms as an attack method, a hacked wireless router becomes an access point for redirecting your family and friends to fake websites, usually to steal their financial details. Vulnerabilities in routers are patched out as they’re discovered, so make sure you have the latest firmware installed on your important devices. You can download firmware from the manufacturer’s website, where you’ll also find instructions for installation.

Hackers can also gain access to your networked devices via their online settings pages, so always change the default password once you’re up and running – and for something like a wireless router that means changing the admin password as well as that of the Wi-Fi network itself.

Mobile precautions

 

The most connected devices we carry with us are smartphones, and they’re vulnerable to many attacks too. In the middle of 2013 remote access Trojan toolkits began to appear for Android, and the “Master Key” vulnerability allowed attackers to modify legitimate apps to include malicious code.

It’s scary, but there are ways to protect your mobile devices. The biggest vulnerabilities get patched out in updates, so it’s vital that you run the latest version of the OS on your phone or tablet. An Android phone should be running at least version 4.3 or 4.4 if supported, while all compatible Apple devices should be updated to iOS 7.

And of course you can add an extra layer of protection by downloading and installing Norton Mobile Security. Unlike many of the fake security apps for Android – yes, that’s another thing to watch out for – Norton Mobile Security is a powerful and safe tool for scanning, detecting and nullifying rogue apps before they can do damage to your phone and expose your personal data. It’s a precaution worth taking.

Comments

Kudos0

We’re always hearing about the connected future, an “Internet of Things” (IoT) where our smartphones and tablets are joined online by ever more devices: cameras, TVs, microwaves and fridges, even baby monitors. It sounds great, but every one of those internet-connected devices is another security concern, as Symantec’s 2014 Internet Security Threat Report demonstrates only too clearly.

As the report states, last year saw high-profile hacks of baby monitors, security cameras and even home routers by cybercriminals. Meanwhile, security researchers dug around in the software of other devices and found ways to attack smart televisions, cars and – most horrifying of all – medical equipment. That doesn’t mean criminals are actively doing so just yet, and the potential financial gain from hacking certain devices is debatable, but the rapid adoption of connected devices means a growing number of relatively untested targets.

Protecting against attacks

 

In the future, manufacturers must thoroughly invest in and prioritise proper robust security features, especially with the amount of data these devices collect and store on users. They are improving in this regard, but right now the onus is largely on you, the user, to adopt best practices and take the necessary precautions.

With criminals turning back to old-fashioned worms as an attack method, a hacked wireless router becomes an access point for redirecting your family and friends to fake websites, usually to steal their financial details. Vulnerabilities in routers are patched out as they’re discovered, so make sure you have the latest firmware installed on your important devices. You can download firmware from the manufacturer’s website, where you’ll also find instructions for installation.

Hackers can also gain access to your networked devices via their online settings pages, so always change the default password once you’re up and running – and for something like a wireless router that means changing the admin password as well as that of the Wi-Fi network itself.

Mobile precautions

 

The most connected devices we carry with us are smartphones, and they’re vulnerable to many attacks too. In the middle of 2013 remote access Trojan toolkits began to appear for Android, and the “Master Key” vulnerability allowed attackers to modify legitimate apps to include malicious code.

It’s scary, but there are ways to protect your mobile devices. The biggest vulnerabilities get patched out in updates, so it’s vital that you run the latest version of the OS on your phone or tablet. An Android phone should be running at least version 4.3 or 4.4 if supported, while all compatible Apple devices should be updated to iOS 7.

And of course you can add an extra layer of protection by downloading and installing Norton Mobile Security. Unlike many of the fake security apps for Android – yes, that’s another thing to watch out for – Norton Mobile Security is a powerful and safe tool for scanning, detecting and nullifying rogue apps before they can do damage to your phone and expose your personal data. It’s a precaution worth taking.

Kudos0
No security software is impenetrable. I run Apple devices, and feel strongly that one should routinely browse settings in System Preferences. It's the first line of defense during remote access computer intrusion. Formerly disabled settings will be changed to enable access- the proof is right there in front of you. A keylogger can be used to obtain login, and your device belongs to someone you've never met. Mobile devices are the same concept. Once an attacker is inside, opening/ enabling things like Auto Fill can be devastating in a few short days if you believe your credit info is not being stored. Access to Contacts, location, and it only takes a flip of a button to make the device wide open for the taking. Logging out after use is frankly essential to maintain security. Storing passwords on a device in ANY fashion is cyber suicide. This includes Mail accounts, and clearing old texts and emails should be routine. A 4 digit code for opening the phone, as well as another to keep your restrictions inaccessible when falling into the wrong hands. You can familiarize yourself with Settings preferences quickly. Noting a change in a setting on your IPhone can be the first sign of intrusion. Don't become complacent while checking to see your security software read,"Your device is protected." Because if you believe that blindly, you just might get what you have coming to you. Additionally, it's worth mentioning that I believe the Norton Mobile to afford great theft and loss solutions, but is lacking simple virus scans or a VPN. Lastly, History logs are a total gift to security practice. Let them run, and it's easy to find any subject you never looked for online. On OSX, the Console contains every place accessed by the user. We are all grown ups, right? Take care of your toys. The same goes for mobile devices. My attack entailed finding many changes in "Settings" from activating the BlueTooth and apps I had disabled like ICloud and FaceTime. P