IoT is a phrase used often in the cyber security space, but what does it really mean? IoT stands for Internet of Things and to put it simply, refers to any device that can be connected to the internet. This is no longer just computers or cellphones but also refers to Smart TV’s and fridges, coffee machines, headphones, speakers, wearable tech, cars and soon enough, pretty much anything.
A more formal definition of IoT given by TechTarget
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
With all of these connections, IoT provides endless opportunities but also poses dangers.
These dangers include:
Your devices being used to spy on you using capabilities such as cameras or voice recording software
Devices being hacked to obtain personal information or to take over functionality of the device
In addition to this, having multiple devices connected to the internet opens further opportunities for these devices to bypass firewalls and access other devices on your network.
To help protect your IoT devices, your home network, and even your favorite shopping or social website—ESET has enhanced the Connected Home Monitor feature within its recently released home products, available to try or upgrade to for free.
How the ESET connected home monitor addresses these dangers
The ESET connected home monitor includes IoT vulnerability detection, a router-connected smart devices test, and a catalog list of connected devices on your network.
The enhanced feature is continuously updated to detect and alert you to new devices connected to your network, as well as the latest vulnerabilities affecting your devices. If a vulnerability is found in a device, ESET will report the cause and possible steps you can make to fix it, such as changing default configurations or updating the device’s firmware from the manufacturer.
Start protecting your home today with ESET’s home security products – click here.
In ongoing consultations with clients,
large companies named targeted attacks and hacking as two of their biggest
security challenges since they can seriously impact the continuity of business
activities in an organization.
Attackers have many means to infiltrate
companies. However, many attacks, don’t require a very high level of
technological sophistication. Instead, techniques like targeted social
engineering, i.e. spear
phishing, or the use of known vulnerabilities for which,
patches may have been issued but businesses have not yet deployed, can lead to
damaged reputation, revenue and data breaches.
On the other hand, high levels of sophistication can also be utilized as is in
the case of a Zero Day attack. Chief
among these was Stuxnet,
a recorded attack where malicious code successfully deployed four zero-day
vulnerabilities to impede a uranium enrichment program in Iran, and which,
according to media, was a state-sponsored attack.
There are many reasons why organizations
become repeat targets. Their bank accounts contain more resources than those of
an average person or small business and they also have considerable amounts of
interesting data that can be monetized. Attacks targeting companies can also be
used as a form of competition. Most often, this concerns data hunting,
i.e. obtaining interesting information or intellectual property. These attacks
can be accompanied by blackmail. For example, a client database is stolen from
a company and is later approached by the perpetrators and asked, “what they are
going to do about their loss”.
Different ways to monetize attacks bring
Organizations often find it difficult to admit they have been breached by these types of attacks. Consequently, this may give other companies the false impression that such attacks happen only occasionally. A typical example of targeted attacks, common in recent years, are DDoS as a Service – attacks, which are sponsored by one company to attack the website of another, with the effect of disrupting business and directing customers away from the targeted company and (possibly) towards the attacker’s “employer”. These are criminal tactics, and the attackers know very well which business areas to target for maximum gain.
There are of course other approaches. Take the example of the British National Health Service, which has become a frequent target of ransomware attacks. Digitization of health services has resulted in a situation where the malicious encryption of medical data may lead to a halt in medical interventions and surgeries. Under such conditions, targeted organizations are often more inclined to pay a ransom for the “hijacked” patient data.
In Kenya attackers have been known to target their attacks to banks and financial institutions, with figures of Ksh400 million being reported stolen from an unnamed local bank and Ksh29 million from National Bank of Kenya in 2018 alone.
Innovative approaches to old tricks
In many rural areas worldwide, one quick glance at powerlines will reveal how
easy it is to make illegal connections to the power grid. As of late,
cyberattackers have followed a similar model, focusing their resources on
illegally mining various cryptocurrencies, which have proven to be
highly popular in the public’s imagination.
A more complex example was a targeted attack meant to infect StatCounter,
which provides a service very similar to
Google Analytics and uses a special script legitimately placed on websites to
obtain data about website visitors. In this case, attackers successfully
breached StatCounter and subsequently gained access to the service’s end users
The problem came to light when visitors navigated to the now compromised websites
which contained the infected scrip, and who’s devices then began covertly
mining bitcoins for the attackers. During the second stage, the attackers proceeded
to steal bitcoins directly from infected devices when they attempted to
access a popular cryptocurrency exchange. To get an idea of the scale of such
an operation, StatCounter can be found on more than two million websites.
Such an attack means that system resources of
infected devices at the company legitimately using the service are additionally
tasked to mine. This may not concern only computers, but also mobile
devices and especially servers. The subsequent cryptomining accelerates wear
and tear on devices and also increases electricity bills. In addition, we
should not forget that malicious cryptomining code is usually capable of uploading
other types of malicious script onto the network.
Investigations may take months and are
looking for a needle in a haystack
When a large company falls victim to such
an attack, it is necessary to carry out a complicated investigation of what
happened and how the company has been affected. Research
shows that it takes about 150-200 days for companies to find out
they’ve been infected. Further investigation regarding the method by which the
company was infected and where the malicious code originated may take even longer.
Facing such substantial risks, large companies should leverage solutions like ESET Dynamic Threat Defense to detect new, never before seen threats.
To find out more about ESET Dynamic Threat Defense or to request a free in-house cyber security training session for your organisation, please sign up below.
Ransomware is by far the biggest threat among Enterprises. So what is Ransomware? It is a malicious code that blocks or encrypts the contents of a device and demands a ransom to restore access to the data.
According to research done by ESET, Companies named ransomware their number one concern.
In response to customer needs and concerns, ESET integrated Ransomware Shield into its security solutions. ESET has long been providing its customers with very good behavior-based malware detection and also with Host-based Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS) that allows users to set custom rules for the protection against ransomware. However, should something slip past the 11 other security layers, Ransomware Shield will be automatically activated.
While ransomware infection often starts with clicking a suspicious link or a fictitious invoice, ESET found that email remains the most common distribution method.
these scenarios, enter ESET Dynamic Threat Defense (EDTD). EDTD provides
another layer of security for ESET products like Mail Security and Endpoint
products. It utilizes a cloud-based sandboxing technology and multiple machine
learning models to detect new, never before seen type of threats. In result,
attachments that were classified as malicious are stripped off the email and
the recipient gets information about the detection.
To learn more about how ESET can protect your business, and to book a FREE in houseCybersecurity Training Session for your employees, please sign up below.