Start securing your network from consumer-grade IoT threats – words Alexa Wang

Earlier this year, FBI advised everyone to reset their routers. And we mean everyone. Apparently, Russian hackers created a piece of malware that was able to spread through the IoT (internet of things) devices and infect the entire networks.

It had the capabilities to brick thousands of machines, and in other cases, the malware was used to steal login credentials and other data from unsuspecting victims.

While FBI was able to stop the malware from spreading further, there is still a chance it can manipulate the infected routers. If you are unknowingly infected, performing factory reset will cut off communications to command and control servers that send the instructions to the malware. We advise to do it right away.

 

A Growing Trend

This attack is just one example of a growing trend of hackers attacking IoT. Given that soon all the electronic devices will communicate with one another, the industry is quickly becoming a new playing ground for hackers. As devices start interconnecting, it is getting easier for malware to spread across the whole network.

Voice assistants, such as the Amazon Echo, are becoming increasingly popular, but the convenience they bring also raises privacy concerns. It’s worth remembering that these devices are constantly listening to what happens around them. If your smart assistant detects the trigger word, it may start recording your conversation without you even knowing it.

This snippet of audio is then uploaded to the cloud to be processed and analyzed, and a response is sent back to the device. If an attacker manages to intercept this exchange, they can make the device start uploading audio to a server that they control.

The list of everyday devices that are being targeted by cybercriminals is getting longer day by day. Therefore, it’s crucial for individuals and businesses to take responsibility and apply necessary security measures to protect their devices and networks.

Securing Your Devices

While the IoT brings terrifying potential security risks, keeping your network secure from cybercriminals is actually much easier than it seems. Here are some IoT solutions and simple steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Install a firewall on your router and make sure to prevent other connected devices from contacting external servers.
  • Block any incoming access to your IoT devices. You can easily re-enable it when it’s time to install an update.
  • If you have any devices that need to exchange data with servers outside your home network, set your router’s firewall to log all of these connections. This makes it easy to review what your devices are doing and decide if it’s safe or not. Some types of attacks also have very distinctive patterns of the network usage, making them relatively easy to identify.
  • Get a reliable VPN (Virtual Private Network), you can easily download one here. So far, this is the most reliable solution to keep your connected gadgets safe from cyber attacks. However, most IoT devices don’t support VPNs, so you will need to install it on your router itself. Make sure your router has a VPN client and choose a trusted provider that allows you to configure your VPN at the router-level. This will ensure that any traffic leaving your network does it securely.

Remain Vigilant

Protecting your own network and devices from attacks is an unquestionably good move for your own benefit, but it is also something that may have a wider positive impact. For example, compromised IoT devices can be hijacked and used by cybercriminals to carry out further attacks. Securing your network will help you reduce the chance of an attacker infiltrating your network and taking advantage of your system.

The best advice is to adopt a holistic approach to your network security. Learn about current security threats, update your software and firmware often, create strong passwords for all of your devices, and make use of advanced online security tools.

Start securing your network from consumer-grade IoT threats – words Alexa Wang

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