When we talk about the insider threat, and it is a topic that is very prominent in the digital security world at the moment, we tend to think of it in terms of rogue employees. People inside your business who are either actively looking to damage your organisation, or are simply naïve to the risks of what they are doing. At Digital Pathways, we would like to talk about the equal threat that ex-employees pose, or at least, how the accounts they leave behind can still cause damage.
Ransomware has become a decidedly ‘trendy’ cyber-attack topic for the media to cover. We looked at it ourselves earlier this year too, in our post on ‘how to deal with ransomware’. In it, we discussed how this particular form of cybercrime can affect people, and what is at risk. We touched on the turmoil that hackers have caused in hospitals and schools, as well as how businesses should look to educate their staff on preventative measures.
The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), and the dawning of the ‘Interconnected Home’, is set to revolutionise the way we live our lives.
Connectivity between Internet-enabled devices will allow for previously unthought-of communication, as physical objects perform actions that see them interact with their environment. The possibilities are vast, with electronic appliances in the home embedded with the same technology you would likely find in your phone, or even your car.
Log management is an essential tool in the battle against cyber-crime. It might not be as glamourous as anti-malware software, or the use of honeypots, but it can be the single most important way of preventing a potential hack. It is effectively the gathering of information from your systems. Every PC and server you use will keep an audit of its activity, which gives you valuable insight into the behaviours of its users. You are able to track exactly who logged in at any given time, and where exactly they were accessing.
Earlier this year, a story was brought to our attention that sent reverberations around the office. As digital security experts, we believe that tightly securing electronic items is an absolute must, and that any company or organisation releasing technology should have a plan in place from the outset. Imagine our surprise when articles regarding the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) surfaced, reporting that the intelligence agency had been forced to intervene in the roll-out of Smart Meters, due to the use of a single encryption key.
It is estimated that Microsoft have around 90% of the market share when it comes to operating systems. This statistic may be slightly misleading though, as it appears to be based on purchases. It doesn’t necessarily take into account the usage levels. Although most new PC’s have Microsoft windows already installed for example, it doesn’t mean that the user doesn’t install something else. Apple, the main rival to Windows, can also argue that their devices have a longer lifespan, and therefore aren’t accurately represented. Whatever the true reflection, what is clear is that having a far inferior market share isn’t protecting Apple users from hackers any more.
In an increasingly technology driven and mobile world, our reliance on our smartphones is growing. They are getting smarter, sleeker and able to perform more and more actions that make them essential to the day to day running of our lives. We can run businesses from our phones, access and distribute funds from various banking apps and store databases. We put in private details without a thought, sending information out into the world that in other situations we keep completely confidential.
In 2012, LinkedIn was infamously hacked and the password details of users released and shared across the darker reaches of the web. Old news you would think. Unfortunately, four years on in 2016, reports are again surfacing that this may not be the last we hear about this particular breach. Earlier this year, it came to the attention of security researchers that some 117 million examples of passwords and email addresses were being sold together on data sharing websites, leading to the estimation that 167 million LinkedIn users are likely to have suffered in some form.
Hacking as a criminal act is on the rise. As our world becomes ever more interconnected, and the Internet of Things sees all devices open to networks and communication, the risks become more real. The opportunity to hack increases too, as more and more of what we own has the ability to be exploited. We have become a generation and economy that thrives on information and data, turning it effectively into a currency. In the same way that highway men would hold up coaches with a gun, and crooks would rob banks with the same, we now have criminals who can hide weaponless behind a keyboard, for more gain than ever before.