Defence Against Cyber Attacks: Protect Your Devices

By Phyllis Mak, Altitude Accelerator’s Communications Intern

In the aftermath of the mass cyber attack launched against DNS provider Dyn on October 21, 2016, the importance of keeping security and maintaining protection against malicious hackers becomes a priority for everybody. It is especially important for startup businesses to ensure their content and business is safe on the internet.

The recent attack relied on the connection of a wide range of electronic gadgets known as Internet of Things (IoT) with access to the internet— anything from cell phones, printers, home routers, webcams, security cameras, digital recorders— to overload and flood the targeted website. The effect of this particular attack was unexpectedly severe because of Dyn’s vital role in the running of important sites such as Twitter, Reddit, Amazon, Paypal, CNN, Netflix, and many more.

Experts and consultants continue to stress the importance of security— steps taken towards ensuring one’s devices are secure and proper protection is given towards various gadgets to prevent attacks. Unfortunately, simpler and unsecured devices may not necessarily come equipped with the proper security to defend against such attacks.

One electronics company, Hangzhou Xiongmai, recalled its webcams after discovering its role in the cyber attack. The unprotected webcams were inadvertently used to perpetuate the hack. Other situations could even involve causing physical damages to businesses— devices that connect to buildings or offices, such as thermostats or light bulbs, could be affected and damage the working environment.

Changing passwords and updating installed devices after its purchase can help halt the possibility of a future hack, but there are devices that don’t allow users to properly change default passwords. Users are forced to rely on the apparatus’ default settings, leaving the gadgets (and by extension, the business itself) vulnerable to access by unwanted malware. One solution is to create devices that allow users to select their own complex password. Some companies are also researching different ways to create security patches to help prevent defend the device.

If the devices are still susceptible to cyber attack, daily check-ups using programs or tools that can identify when connected devices are compromised. Removing affected devices can help prevent another mass attack from creating as big of an impact in the future. One security firm, BullGuard, has a free IoT scanner available online for this use. Regular upkeep or programs made specifically for devices can aid in the prevention of future hacks too.

The age of convenience has produced a variety of helpful technological gadgets with a multitude of advantages, both on the personal and business front, but it also provides new openings for malware to bully their way in. This assault, which involves the use of so many internet-connected devices, is an important reminder that internet security and the protection of connected devices in a business environment should not be sacrificed for the sake of reduced effort and time in the industry.

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You can find out more on the importance of cyberspace security with this video here. Follow the Altitude Accelerator on Twitter and stay up-to-date with all the technological and business start up news. Become a client with the Altitude Accelerator today and gain access to all the resources and expert advice for the protection and security of your business!

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