Author Archives: Stephany Silva

Three Cyber-Security Challenges of the Internet of Things (IoT)

Three Cyber-Security Challenges of the Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is in every facet of our everyday existence, and they’re not going away anytime soon. It has become a revolutionary concept but also a security minefield. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be more than 50 billion web-connected devices all of which represent a portal to the network which can be hacked or compromised giving access to our most intimate moments and information. Many connected devices in any one system grants access to many points of entry for nefarious purposes. IoT comes with many benefits offering one integrated information system aimed at improving the quality of life and driving new business models. However, along with those benefits are also security challenges that IoT faces.

Here are three cybersecurity challenges of IoT.

Updates & Patches

Devices need to be updated regularly to remain up to date with cyber-threats. When the device is left unpatched the risk of a cyber-attack increase. Only 49% of companies offer remote updates for their smart “things.” Many of the people who develop low-end devices do not have the funds to give continuous device support. Leaving the consumer vulnerable to an unsupported device that is only as secure as the day purchased, containing security defects, and left fending for themselves against cyber threats. At the same time, the IoT vendors may not be technically savvy enough to develop such security updates.

Lack of Experience

Devices are more than often created by consumer goods manufacturers not PC hardware or software businesses. Many lack the experience of knowing how to properly secure devices and keep them safe from prying hackers. The main hindrance to designing secure IoT products is the fact that there is a shortage of experienced security experts who specialize in IoT.

Device Awareness

Being aware of all the IoT devices on the network especially a corporate network is the first step in applying the necessary cyber security measures. Many of these devices remain unmonitored within enterprise environments not seen as a threat to the network but the reality is that this opens a gateway for cyber-attacks. This leaves a hole in the network that needs to be secured becoming a vulnerability that can easily be exploited because these devices are the weakest link and are not secured.

Holiday Shopping: Best Practices for Shopping Safely Online

Have you ever considered that you could be a target for a hacker? The holidays are around the corner meaning that this is the season for scammers to get to work. Identity theft and scam prevention services reports that approximately 15 million Americans have their identities used fraudulently each year with financial losses totaling upwards of $50 billion.

Here are four tips to help keep you safe while you shop.

Never click on links in an email

Clicking on the link instead of manually typing in the retailer’s website can redirect you to a scam site. Fake emails are designed to look like retailer’s in hopes you’ll give them your personal information. In fact, email phishing scams remain the most widespread method of stealing information. Although I am only referring to one form, it is important for you to be aware of the many other forms phishing presents itself as.

Best practices:

  • Check for odd spelling and bad English grammar
  • Beware of links
  • Be leery on too good to be true deals
  • Avoid redirected sites
  • Keep your security software up to date

Use Wi-Fi connections that you know

What is so wrong about using public Wi-Fi? Although public Wi-Fi can be convenient when you are at your favorite coffee shop browsing your news feed, public Wi-Fi is not secure even if it is password protected making it a major security risk. You are still an easy target for a hacker to eavesdrop on your online conversations, transactions, and personal information. Essentially, all that is really needed is for you and the hacker to be on the same Wi-Fi.

Best practices:

  • Always verify the SSID (service set identifier otherwise known as Wi-Fi name) with the business hosting
  • Use a VPN (virtual private network) if in a dire situation

Shop on secure sites only

Your browser is the door to the internet and the front line of defense against security threats. Securing the front line will keep hackers from walking right through your front door. How do you let the deals come in while keeping the hackers out? Keep a close eye on your address bar making sure it always shows an icon of a locked padlock. This ensures that the site is using SSL (secure socket layer) encryption HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://) adding an extra layer of protection by encrypting your data.

Best practices:

  • Shop from familiar websites that you trust
  • Research unfamiliar sellers to make sure they are legitimate
  • Always update your browser

Avoid Fake phone apps

As you scroll through your phone’s app store you find an app that claims to help you find the best deals, it shows a good score, and has the most popular brands. Up to 75-80% of the top free apps on Android or iPhones have malicious software known as malware, giving hackers easy access to not only steal your personal information but a gateway to your everyday life. They can now snoop on your conversations, steal passwords, track your location, credit card information, and even use your phone’s camera to spy on you. Worse of all, these apps continue to work while they do their magic profiting from your device without you even knowing.

Best practices:

  • Do your research before downloading apps
  • Delete apps that do not make sense
  • Read the reviews
  • Review app permissions
  • Do not download apps from third party sources