Mobile World Congress: Introducing 5G 0 1421

Year after year Mobile World Congress (MWC) takes place in Barcelona, Spain. It is an event that brings together almost every vendor related to the mobile industry to show off their shiny new gadgets, apps and services in our ever-increasingly-connected world.

One of the hot topics surrounding this world at MWC 2018 was 5G — the next generation of mobile connectivity.

What is 5G and how will it affect us?

If we look back at previous incarnations of mobile networks, 1G, 2G and so on, there have been major changes to the technology. The next generation, 5G, delivers greater speed and lower latency, but also has the advantage of being able to connect many more devices concurrently. This is one of the reasons why MWC has gone from being just a show promoting smartphone manufacturers and operators to a gathering of companies showing off connected world devices that could benefit from being connected to a 5G network.

The reality is that none of the existing technologies will disappear anytime soon, in fact the speed that can be achieved on the existing network are up to 1.2Gbps. So, asking the sales representatives in a phone shop about a new 5G handset will probably have them wondering what you’re talking about.

The existing infrastructure for 4G relies on cell towers/masts, typically with reasonable distances between them, whereas 5G is based on smaller, more frequent cells. The smaller cells help deliver the additional bandwidth and lower latency as the network becomes more distributed. The speeds are reportedly able to deliver 20Gbps with just 1ms latency.

Any new networks require licenses, funding and significant effort to introduce them. In the US, AT&T claims it will be the first company with a 5G network, that will cover 12 cities by the end of 2018 and aimed at the mobile phone market. Verizon is taking a different approach and intends on implementing 5G to compete with existing home internet service providers, and with the speed and capacity available on a 5G network this could be a very competitive offering.

Many exhibition halls at MWC had devices designed for the smart city, driverless cars, smart bandages that track your healing, through to virtual reality gaming.

While faster speed is a result of the improved technologies, it is the low latency and capacity that will enable these technologies to deliver a world where just about everything could be connected. The need for capacity is compounded once the connected devices start talking to each other. For example, the future driverless car may be able to communicate with other cars, traffic monitoring, or sensors on the roads and take actions based on the environment around it.

While some 5G smartphone handsets may start to appear on shelves in 2018, we should expect the main vendors to start offering them in 2019.

The rollout of 5G is moving quicker in some regions than others, as already discussed, carriers in the US see competitive advantage and have already announced their plans. Other countries that have openly stated their commitment to early adoption of 5G are China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Norway, and I am sure this list will grow. In Europe, commitment from both regulators and financiers for the new networks is slower. This could be seen as a competitive disadvantage, or you could view this as sensibly waiting to allow others to experience the difficulties of early adopter first.

As with any new technology there are security considerations. Providers of services will need to combat the expected evolution of advanced malware that will accompany the new 5G infrastructure and implement threat prevention services and solutions that deliver security through layers, including machine learning, to deal with the increased network performance and capacity. Threat intelligence and pro-active security measures are essential components for any device or service being developed to utilize 5G, secure by design.

It is important to remember that understanding the psychology and mindset of the cybercriminal is also important, and for this, deep research by experts in the security field will help the industry predict where the attackers may see the next opportunity. So, while 5G will move us quicker, the benefit of added speed will have a cost and means that for the time being the human component in maintaining safer technology remains crucial.

Previous ArticleNext Article

3 Ways Scammers Are exploiting Coronavirus Fears 1 612

Types of Scams

From malware-laden emails to fake donations, these are some of the most common cons you should watch out for amid this public health crisis

It’s beyond reasonable doubt that the COVID-19 disease has transformed itself into a pandemic that has thrown the world into a tailspin. Panic is palpable than ever before, and as a result, has led to market closures, travel bans, lockdowns, and panic buying.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals are taking advantage of this chaotic situation to defraud the vulnerable. With more than 60,000 deaths witnessed across the globe due to the virus, fraudsters are finding an opportune moment for launching their fraudulent campaigns, usually disguised as humanitarian interventions.

Therefore, the big question is, how do you sniff potential scammers a mile away? Fret not, in this post, we share some of the common despicable tactics (as identified by the ESET research team) that are currently being used by scammers to defraud innocent souls.

  1. Malicious News

To appear as convincing as possible, the current retinue of scammers have resorted to impersonating authoritative sources, especially those concerned with disseminating news regarding the virus. Such include the world health organization (WHO) among many other firms.

As such, they will send you emails purporting to come from these sources that contain “vital information” regarding the disease to hoodwink you into clicking on their malicious links. Usually, such links may steal your personal information, install malware on your machine, or try to capture your password and login credentials.

Nevertheless, the good thing is that most of these organizations are aware of such fraudulent activities. And in a bid to end them, have come to the open regarding the issue. For instance, the WHO, on its website, offers advice on how it communicates and also elaborates on what to expect from their official emails.

As an example, one of the significant points reads:

“Make sure the sender has an email address such as ‘person@who.int’. If there is anything other than ‘who.int’ after the ‘@’ symbol, this sender is not from WHO. WHO does not send emails from addresses ending in ‘@who.com’, ‘@who.org,’ or ‘@who-safety.org,’ for example.”

What’s more, the organization advises that all its web content starts with https://www.who.int/ only, no other domain is used.  Therefore, be sure to check on the URL of the email sent to you before clicking on it. If in doubt, input the address directly onto your browser to get the results. Most importantly, the WHO cannot start sending you emails without your subscription or prompt. 

On the other hand, if you wanted the real news regarding the pandemic, you can visit the dedicated WHO site or head to your national health care institution’s website. For instance, the National Health Service if you are a United Kingdom resident or Center for Disease Control and Prevention if you live in the US.

Alternatively, you can get real information from your usual trusted sources, but not from unsolicited emails.

In another case (as shown in the image below), the fraudsters are trying to impersonate the wall street journal by establishing a visually similar site (phishing site).

From the image, you can notice that the URL starts with ‘worldstreet’ while the wording on the webpage indicates ‘world street,’ which is a red flag.

By creating such a site, they trick people into believing that they are the real wall street journal, therefore gain some revenue from the advertisements placed there. Though the site may not track your credentials, the money generated goes to the wrong hands.

2. Appeal for donation

In another attempt to outsmart the would-be victims, cybercriminals are now packaging themselves as “genuine souls” out there to help in the war against the virus.  For instance, in a recent scam, fraudsters were attempting to persuade their audience to contribute towards the development of a vaccine for children in China.

An interesting fact about this example is that the perpetrators are riding on the popularity of an existing campaign by re-purposing its content with Coronavirus details. In another 2019 publication, we talked about how criminals were threatening their victims in an attempt to extort money from them.

Often, such corona themed scams will request you to send your donations in the form of bitcoins to a particular fraudster’s wallet. Though the trick might work on a few people, if done on a global scale can rake in colossal sums of money, which makes it attractive to the criminals.

3. Dubious purchases

The increasing demand for particular products such as face masks and hand sanitizers due to the pandemic has resulted in their short supply. Naturally, this has attracted fraudsters who, according to Sky News, have conned around £800,000 (US$1 million) from United Kingdom residents within February alone.

In an attempt to steal your money, the fraudsters will send you spam emails purporting to help you secure face masks. In case you unwittingly click on the provided links, your financial and personal credentials will be revealed to the fraudsters.

Therefore, you should always be on the lookout for such claims, and only purchase such items from a trusted dealer.

Final thoughts

These are examples of a few tactics currently being used by cybercriminals in their attempts of defrauding people their hard-earned money as a result of the current confusion brought about the COVID-19 stalemate.

Thus, as a business or individual, you need to remain vigilant regarding such antics, not only during such emergencies but also during other times.

As a way of minimizing your chances of falling victim to such schemes, you can always practice some of the following basics:

  1. Be worrisome of emails containing alarming messages regarding the pandemic and the need for immediate action; for instance, ordering for a vaccine or cure via the provided links.
  2. Avoid replying to unknown messages requiring your credentials; for example, those needing your bank details and identification number, among other sensitive information.
  3. Be proactive at identifying potential crowd-funding or fraudulent campaigns.
  4. Utilize well-known multi-layered security software, which includes protection against phishing.

More Importantly, ESET has been here for you for over 30 years. We want to assure you that we will be here to protect your online activities during these uncertain times, too.

Protect yourself from threats to your security online with an extended trial of our award-winning software.

Try our extended 90-days trial for free.

5 Surefire Ways To Create a Cybersecure Home Office Experience 0 546

Man working on computer at home

For the next few weeks, you will probably find yourself working from home due to the coronavirus. Make sure you don’t forget about cybersecurity best practices that can help defend you against a cyberattack.

It’s no longer a secret that the current upsurge of the Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted normal operations in a lot of companies. An increasing number of workers are being forced to work from home or any other convenient places away from their company premises.

However, due to a sharp increase in the search volumes for the term Coronavirus, malicious developers are updating their toolkits with malicious links, sites, and Coronavirus-themed scams to capitalize on unsuspecting victims.

Therefore, as an employee working from home, you need to enforce adequate measures to counter such cybercrime threats. In this post, we take a look at five sure tips that can help you secure your home network. Let’s dig in!

1.     Check the default settings in your home router

Your home router is the engine of your home network. Without it, your PC can’t communicate with others on the net. This makes them a primary target for any cybercriminal out there.

In most cases, hackers will try to hack into your home router, and if successful, hijack your Wi-Fi traffic and finally have access to your network.

To prevent such an occurrence, you need to check your router’s settings and change the defaults. This means that you will first need to gain access to your router’s control panel before you make the changes.

Here are the steps:

  1. Open your browser and switch on your home network
  2. Type something like http://192.168.1.1 in your browser
  3. From the router configuration center page, you will be directed to change all the settings that can affect your security. For instance, your default user-names and passwords currently in your router. 
  4. Change your SSID (name of your home network), which stems from the fact that cybercriminals can use it to launch an attack. Case in point, taking a look at the SSIDs of Wi-Fi networks detected from my apartment shows that many of my neighbors are using Huawei routers; which can be free fodder for an attacker.
Screenshot of wi-fi networks on home laptop

To create strong and unique passwords, you can utilize the ESET password manager. One significant advantage of using such is that you don’t need to remember a lot. A single long phrase can be used to manage all your other account passwords with a few clicks.

Screenshot of ESET Password Manager on home laptop

2.     Kick-off any unwanted devices from your home network

Unrecognized devices hovering around your home network pose a significant threat to your system, as they can access your vital documents and credentials without your knowledge.

To fix this situation, you can subscribe to ESET Smart Security Premium, where you’ll enjoy the services of a home connected scanning tool, which can identify pesky neighbors who have been secretly using your Wi-Fi connection. After which you can flush them out from your network and finally change your passwords.

Screenshot of ESET Smart Security Premium on home laptop

3.     Get the latest firmware for your home router – or purchase a new one in case you have a legacy router

A recent discovery by the ESET team of how Wi-Fi chips are vulnerable to attacks brings to the fore, the importance of continually updating your home router’s system software to the latest manufacturer’s standards.

If you discover that you’re utilizing a legacy router, then it’s time you should opt for a new home router.

As a rule of thumb, grab one that has better security measures; such as those from the Gryphon brand that integrates threat intelligence.

This impressive technology provided by ESET enables the router to detect and block malware, phishing sites, as well as other threats that might invade your home network system.

For more information about the current configuration options for your home router, you can check out this blog post.

4.     Communicate through a virtual private network

To discreetly pass information over public networks to evade the ever-present prying eyes, you can enlist the services of a VPN.

It provides a safe tunnel for communication by encrypting your data and sending them in small packets across the network. Decryption only happens at the end of the tunnels, which ensures that your data is safe. 

5.     Make use of the two-factor authentication (2FA) to secure your remote access

Factually, the Remote desktop protocol (RDP) responsible for the security of remote systems has often been prone to attacks, especially where no proper protection is in place.

Cybercriminals, for instance, can hack a system’s RDP through brute-forcing their way in or social engineering passwords out of employees.

Fortunately, with technology such as the ESET Secure Authentication or ESET’s two-factor authentication (2FA) solution, you can secure doubly remote access technologies such as the RDP and VPN, as well as employee credentials.

The double layer of protection emanates from the fact that a 2FA solution requires an employee to enter a one-time code that is delivered to them through an authentication app or SMS, in addition to the usual corporate user-name and password.

As a result, an attacker can not have access to your information or credentials even if they compromise your password.

Final thoughts

Having a cyber secure home office is the way to go if companies are to realize their end goals without suffering significant setbacks due to the prevalent data security threats. ESET has been here for you for over 30 years. We want to assure you that we will be here to protect your online activities during these uncertain times, too. Protect yourself from threats to your online security with an extended trial of our award-winning software.

Try our extended 90-day trial for free.