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Reap what you sow

Nov 20, 2017 | Newsletter, Resources

Every time you connect your new watch, fridge, lightbulb, central heating, toilet… to the internet with the idea of increasing your level of control (who, after all, hasn’t dreamed of raising the toilet seat from their phone?), you are adding another potential vulnerability to your network.

We’ve heard in the last few weeks that the ‘Reaper’ botnet (a series of connected devices, set-up to run automated scripts) controls some two-million webcams, security cameras, digital video recorders and more.

But what does that mean for you?

There doesn’t seem to be any issue with personal data being stolen or leaked and it’s not a hack to damage or destroy data on the devices it infects. Whilst its ultimate goal is still unclear, it’s a general sign of how things are and a warning that it is irresponsible and dangerous to have unprotected hardware and software on your network.

Most hardware, whether it is a wifi router, a webcam or, well, a smart-toilet, comes with an admin interface and a default username and password, which tend to be ‘admin’ / ‘admin’, ‘admin’ / ‘password’ or something equally unsecure. Immediately the responsibility is placed upon you to change them, but most people don’t – this is the vulnerability that botnets such as Reaper take advantage of.

You should:-

  • – Know which of your devices at home or work connect to the internet
  • – Change default passwords of any internet-connected device
  • – Consider whether an ‘Internet of Things’ device benefits you or the manufacturer most – what is sold as convenience is often a marketing exercise to lock you in to their systems
  • – Have suitable firewall / anti-virus / anti-malware software installed
  • – Ensure all devices are updated appropriately

Take a few minutes to understand the technology you are using – and talk to us if you are unsure.

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