How to be Cyber Safe this Christmas

By Pink Connect

Don’t want to get a nasty surprise this Christmas? Read below:

christmas, hacking, cyber security, stay safe,
“Just because you are in the safety of your own home, does not mean you’re safe from the virtual world.”

As Christmas approaches, more and more people will be working from home, sending and receiving emails, using the Internet and accessing online web portals. Most people imagine they are not at risk working from home, within a safe environment. Unfortunately, this is far from true, as it can be very easy to download Malware. Once on your computer, the Malware can easily spread to other devices connected to the network at home or back at the office. This can cause tremendous harm to the network and cost valuable time repairing the damage.

There are many ways Malware can download, the user being completely oblivious to having downloaded it. Through surfing the internet or visiting a website, the computer will download files to allow the user to view sites. In many cases, malicious code is embedded within the files of the website that get onto the victim’s computer. Currently, it is estimated there are 30,000 such infected sites added to the Internet every day.

IoT Intenet of things connected
Many different devices such as fridges, watches and even lighting systems are part of the IoT world. What’s connected in your home and is it secure?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a whole new realm of risk not even considered by consumers. These contain huge vulnerabilities. Criminals can listen to conversations (any device with a microphone), monitor network traffic (any device connected to the Internet) record keystrokes and passwords, or even record events through a webcam (CCTV, baby monitor,etc.). Almost without exception, these IoT devices are designed with absolutely no security built in. If you want someone to check out your building for any vulnerabilities, call us.

Hackers monitor traffic on the home network, as most home routers come with a default password that’s never changed; many Wi-Fi access points have easily guessable default passwords, e.g. admin, password, 12345, sysadmin, etc., which then allow malicious attackers onto the network to monitor all traffic. When performing a security audit for a potential client, one of our senior sales advisors was able to guess the correct password – it’s that easy. Don’t be that insecure, you can’t afford it.

We have put some recommendations together to simply enhance the security of your home network. It’s a lot easier than you think to put the correct controls in place:

  • The first step is to have End-Point Anti-virus software installed and ensure it’s active and up to date on all computers on the network.
  • Be vigilant online – do not use suspicious websites – this also applies to attachments on emails that look completely harmless but may disguise malware.
  • Ensure WPA2 is enabled.
  • Change all default passwords to unique ones with a greater length and complexity.
  • Change the SSID name as most routers have similar default SSID names (for example, most BT home hubs SSID will start with “BThub5”) telling everyone the router is a BT Hub 5 with known vulnerabilities, allowing access to the network.
  • Lastly, ensure all computers and devices are kept up to date, this helps patch any vulnerabilities found within the software or firmware.

Just because you are in the safety of your own home does not mean your safe from the virtual world and the more people that know that, the better. Don’t let your Christmas holiday be ruined by a dodgy email or website – stay #cybersafe.