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Iot (internet of things) devices and IP (Internet Protocol) devices that are directly connected to the internet are actually computers. The one thing that users do not understand is that their devices online are pretty much hackable if not properly secured with the help of cybersecurity techniques. One very common way in which hackers get access to a network of devices (home devices as well as office devices) without having to physically visit the place is by releasing malware in a system.

The infected system could be anything ranging from a surveillance camera to a mobile phone, the DVR of the computer, and even smart appliances. Shocking, isn’t it? And the worst thing is that hackers don’t  even have to work hard to steal the data. There are so many loose (poorly protected) devices that hackers can easily exploit any vulnerability.

Having said that, whether it’s cameras hacked or compromised DVR, everything can be prevented and protected on the web from getting exploited if users follow the internet safety rules laid by the experts. Let’s have a look at those rules.

1. Password Protection

A system’s backdoor is just like the backdoor of a house. It has to be locked to keep thieves outside. Just like a strong lock defends the backdoor of a house, similarly a password is a lock too. Which is why it has to be strong if you intend to keep hackers out of your system.

Here’s what should be followed for password protecting every device on the internet.

  1. When you change the default password, make sure you’re not reusing an old password. The new one you make should have 12 characters in minimum.
  2. If you have a lot of passwords to remember, save them in a password manager app.

2. MFA Security

MFA can be adopted by organizations with many systems.

It’s multi-factor authentication. The system is kept behind 3 or more layers that are necessary authentication factors. The access to a system will be granted only when all the layers can be successfully cleared.

3. Debugging the System

It is very important that every software in your device(s) should always be updated and running on the latest version. Some things that you have to follow are as follows.

  1. Keep removing bugs by running scans and deleting old buggy files.
  2. Always patch the router. Check for updates manually.

So, the bottomline is keeping the systems clean and adopting advanced web security tactics if you want to foil hacking attempts.

Cybersecurity experts are always on their toes whenever the online landscape is going through a change. It is the time of chaos and hackers usually misuse that chaos to trick users into revealing the information that they shouldn’t. This particular technique is known as phishing. It has many advanced modifications too – spear phishing, credential stuffing, pharming, and vishing. Needless to say, the online security concerns that erupt due to ignorance are the most painful.

The extent of sophistication that hackers have achieved can be judged by the fact that they actually end up using the Google services – that Google designs for the safety of internet users – to target the web users. This practice helps them in fooling Google’s very own binary filter that lets the spam emails get past the spam filter.

That’s not all. Hackers have also started purchasing actual domain names to create real-looking malicious websites in the disguise of online sellers of masks, protective gears, and sanitizers. Since the online purchase of these items has increased during COVID, users end up trusting the real-looking malicious websites. The situation gets worse when the DNS redirects the users to those websites.

So, in layman terms, hackers use advanced phishing techniques nowadays to cheat users. If you’re worried about the safety of your business, then the below listed cybersecurity practices are the ones you must adopt.

Password Strengthening 

Changing the default password is not sufficient. It’s relevant only when the new password is strong.

Here’s what a strong password is like.

  • It has no less than 12 characters.
  • Characters include numbers, symbols, and small letter and large letter alphabets.
  • It is not shared by any two devices or accounts.
  • It is not known to anybody else except for you.
  • It is stored, along with all the other passwords, in the password manager app.

2. MFA Implementation

A strong backdoor password already gives hackers a tough time. When additional 3 or more layers are added and as long as even 1 remains unbreached, one can only imagine the problems that hackers have to face. Which is why hackers don’t usually like spending time on devices that are this strong.

Employees’ Training

Teach them what phishing is so that they know what they’re dealing with. The other benefits of training employees are as follows.

  1. They know how to patch the home router.
  2. They know they are not supposed to click on suspicious emails.

So, it requires a good bit of collective effort to defend a business from hackers. If you’re smart, you’ll follow the techniques that have been explained above.

Digitization on one hand has reformed the world for good. But on the other hand, it has also led to a rise in online data security theft. COVID-19 has been the one major cause that pushed more sectors, including the retail market, to go online. And quite naturally, these new businesses were certainly not prepared to deal with hacking threats. The online security concerns that stemmed out of this under preparedness increased the rate of phishing by almost 300% in 2020.

Hackers started finding weaker links in the supply chain to steal identity and cryptocurrency wallet details of users that led to hefty monetary losses. The one thing that was determined was the fact that most online proofs were in the form of digitized photos and digitized identify cards. Hackers then used COVID themed phishing attacks to convince users to either purchase santinitzation items from a malicious website or click on emails that looked like they were coming from WHO. When the user did any of these two, the identity and other details were instantly stolen.

Now that we have explained how hackers made little tweaks in the ways to dupe web users, it is time that we also take you through a couple of techniques that can protect your devices from security breaches of the similar kind. Have a look.

1. Router Management Tips for Remote Workers

When working from home, you need to understand that it’s not just one device that is connected to the router, but many. If we talk about an average household, there would be no less that 10 smart appliances connected to the router – mobile phones, tablets, air pods, gaming stations, ipads, ipods, smart appliances like a TV and refrigerator, and security surveillance cameras. Shocking, right?

You might not have noticed this earlier, but now that we have mentioned this, here are the things you should bear in mind.

  • Check the router for updates manually.
  • Patch the router from time to time.
  • Do not forget to reboot the router since rebooting is able to get rid of any malware that might be stealing your data secretly.
  • Create separate logins for guests.
  • Create a separate login for the work system.

2. Implementation of 2-factor or Multi-factor Authentication 

2-factor authentication means using 2 more security layers for system protection after the backdoor password. And MFA means at least 3 or more such security layers.

Remember, every authentication factor – after the backdoor password is breached – will have to be cleared to get entry inside the system. Thus, enabling MFA or 2-FA will double and triple the cyber safety of the devices.

So, if you’re smart and you do realize how important it is to follow cybersecurity protocols, you will definitely adopt all the security techniques that we have listed above.

malware is the greatest danger that’s ever been witnessed by web security experts. One of the worst things about malware attacks is that hackers just tweak them and that’s all that is needed to trick users into bad browsing habits like sharing login credentials on a website they shouldn’t or clicking open the links that they shouldn’t. Some of the examples of how hackers simply change the look and feel of phishing attacks are as follows.

Most of the phishing attacks that were carried out in April 2020 were related to the COVID pandemic.

Most phishing attacks that generally occur between March to April are related to tax since these months are the end of a financial year when users have to file for the TDS.

Needless to say, it is the entire facet that’s changed but the core theme is still the same – fooling users. Considering the fact that phishing has increased by almost 300% ever since the arrival of COVID-19, the TEC annual conference this year will touch the topics of phishing, malware, and botnet threats in greater detail.

The conference that is to be held between May 3 to May 5 in 2021 will be different from the others hosted in the past in the following ways.

It will showcase how advanced phishing attacks look like and feel like in real time.

It will be a wonderful opportunity for attendees to learn how one single malware infected system can spread the malware to the other systems so easily.

So, if you’re an aware organization, you’ll most definitely arrange for your employees to attend the virtual conference that’ll take place from May 3-6, 2021.

Having said that, let us also take you through some advanced cybersecurity practices that can guard an organization from advanced phishing and malware attacks.

A Strong Backdoor Password Always Comes First 

Make the backdoor password about 15 characters long, if possible. If that is too hard, you can go down to 12 characters, but nothing lower than that. To make it complex, you should create a messy blend of symbols and numbers and alphabets in small letters and capital letters, both.

Adding MFA is Even Better

When 3 or more authentication layers are added between the internet and the system, that practice is known as MFA (multi-factor authentication). The system will remain inaccessible as long as all the authentication factors aren’t cleared.

To sum up, protection from phishing attacks would require collective efforts from employees as well as companies since there’s no scope that the online landscape will get safer on its own

Online landscape for cybersecurity has always been susceptible to hacking. But, there have also always been ways to protect a system on the internet from hackers. The most serious means that hackers use nowadays to exploit security vulnerabilities include malware attacks.

Carried out in the form of phishing, the most advanced and mostly used kinds of malware that hackers prefer releasing inside a system include:

  • Ransomware
  • Trojan Horse
  • Botnet

Ransomware

Ransomware, as the name suggests, includes blackmailing. When a hacker is able to dupe users into clicking on malware affected links, the malware that enters inside the system locks the user out. The hacker then asks for a ransom in exchange for the hacked information. The worst part is – even if the ransom is paid, there’s no guarantee that hackers won’t exploit what they hacked. They could, and they do, replicate the data and use it to launch more specific phishing attacks like spear phishing.

A Trojan horse

Another advanced method of malware infestation, a Trojan horse is more like a malicious software. It looks like a genuine software that, if downloaded in a system, gives hackers an access inside the system.

Botnets

Bots created by hackers – used as botnets – work like a network of many malware infected computers that, simultaneously, launch malware attacks via spamming email Campaigns.

Having said that, if you witness any of the below listed things happening in your computer, it could mean that the system is already compromised.

  1. If the screen of the system gets frozen.
  2. Genuine looking pop-up ads keep appearing time and again.

Now, other than watching out for such symptoms, what you can also do is adopt the following cybersecurity techniques that will protect your systems from all such malware attacks.

Some of the most effective techniques are listed below. Adopt them to ensure you’re well guarded against hackers already.

Use MFA Technique

This is a cybersecurity measure where biometric layers are added in combination with the backdoor password of the system. In other words, the password is just the first layer to get system access, there are more – at least 3. Only when all security layers are cleared that a user gets to access the system. And, it’s not easy to duplicate the biometrics of a user. So, using this technique will make your system better protected from malware.

Use Firebreaks 

Firebraking or network segmentation is done in order to divide the information of a company and storing it in independent networks. When in implementation, if a hacker somehow gets access inside a system, the entire company cannot be hacked. The systems on the infected networks are the only ones that will be hacked. In the meanwhile, the security team could raise an alert asking other employees to shut down their systems.

That said, desperate times require desperate measures, and these COVID times are desperate times. So, make sure you adopt as many security measures as you can to protect your firm from online threat actors.

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