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Protect Your Devices From Cyberattacks

Protect Your Devices From Cyberattacks

October 21, 2016

Why All “Internet Of Things” Need To Be Secure

On Friday, October 21, 2016, one of the United State’s critical internet infrastructure players, Dyn, was severely attacked by distributed denial of service (DDoS) malware. This was a result of access through the “internet of things”, which is everyday devices with network connectivity for sending and receiving data. These devices are mobile phones, iPods, Fitbit, Apple watch, car, TV, computer…. basically anything that can be used to access the internet. Hackers scoured the web for devices with default or weak passwords, and used it to launched malicious attacks targeted clogged targeted site traffic.

Clients of Dyn, a domain registration service provider, were affected by at least 3 rounds of attacks.  So those trying to access or process transactions on sites such as PayPal, Netflix, Twitter, Reddit, Spotify, etc. had issues in doing so. These corporations worked feverishly to resolve it, but found it challenging as Mirai source code to English-language site Hackerforums were released. It’s still under investigation, but tech giants took a crippling blow Friday.

How To Minimize Cyberattacks On Your Devices

As you can see, anything that accesses the internet can be hacked to wreak havoc on businesses. How then can companies prevent these security breaches? Although cyber crimes cannot be prevented, because once targeted, these skilled hackers can find ways to access any network. This current incident, and leaks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and Republican National Committee (RNC) emails are prime examples of that.
The only thing to do is to minimize the risk of attacks, and here are some helpful tips.

  • Don’t Be The Low Hanging Fruit:

    Hackers are counting on the carelessness and ignorance of people, regarding cyber security. Those are the ones they attack first, as seen by the cyber security breach on Friday. Implement the following, and avoid being the low hanging fruit.

  1. Install antivirus on all computers, AND mobile devices, as these devices are used as computers these days. For cell phone users who conduct financial transactions on their devices, it is wise to have antivirus on those phones. Regardless of what operating system is associated with the device, hackers can get in easily, if there is no antivirus.
  2. Use strong passwords instead of default passwords. There are apps with fingerprint options to log into accounts, so use that if available.
  3. Refrain from saving login information on browsers, because once the network has been compromised, it is invitation for hackers to explore any account at the account holder’s expense.
  4. Have an online password vault to securely store all account information. Remember the password though, because there is no password reset for it, if it is to be truly secure.
  5. Stay away from public WIFI, as it is open invitation for hackers to enter the network
  6. Change passwords regularly.
  • Protect Online Offices:

    The website is the online office which has a wider audience that can access the site 24 / 7. As such, it is imperative to protect the office from online damage, and theft with the following methods.

  1. Install a comprehensive website antivirus, and firewall to monitor, scan, and clean any cyber threats trying to break into the site.
  2. Install secure sockets layer (SSL) to encrypt data transfer to and from the site. This is also good SEO practice, as Google ranks SSL sites better than those without.
  3. If using a shared server, make sure to get a hosting plan that includes a dedicated IP address.
  4. Include automatic backup in the hosting plan, because it will be necessary to quickly restore the site, should something happen to it. Have an external backup of the site and database as well, just in case something happens on the server end.
  5. For WordPress sites, always have a child theme created so when regular template and plugin updates occur, it does not damage the site as much, if at all. Without it, almost every update performed will affect either the design or functionality of the site.
  6. Update WordPress themes and plugins when notified, as these updates can fix security breach areas, and / or enhance the site’s appearance and performance. Remove any themes, and plugins not being used.