The Internet of Things (IoT) Impact on Cyber Security

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October 2016 brought a massive and sustained Internet attack like nothing seen before. The Internet infrastructure company, Dyn, was attacked, and this caused outages affecting countless individuals and thousands of online retail operations in the USA.

It directly affected users on Twitter, Amazon, Tumblr, Reddit, Spotify, and Netflix. It was determined that the attack involved Mirai, a malware strain that searches the Internet for devices protected only by factory default usernames and passwords. Mirai then uses those devices in attacks that create useless traffic, blocking legitimate traffic from reaching certain sites.

This is yet another, not so gentle reminder, of the hostile online environment in which businesses must operate. Jamaican businesses are not exempt. Of particular concern is the speed with which the nature of attacks change, as there is just no way for an SME with a relatively small budget to keep abreast of the changes and protect itself from the mass cyber attacks and advanced persistent threats. For CEOs and CIOs throughout the world and in Jamaica, End Point Security now has to be one of the uppermost concerns.

The attack on Dyn was accomplished by hacking compromised digital video recorders and IP cameras made by a Chinese tech company and sold downstream to vendors to be used in other products. These devices had hard-coded usernames and passwords accessible by obscure and less user-friendly communications services such as Telnet and SSH, which are text-based interfaces executed from the command prompt. Just days before the attack, researchers scanned the Internet and discovered more than 515,000 devices vulnerable to Mirai.

Even months after the attacks, it is still unclear how to mitigate the danger present in these devices. Most of the vulnerable devices are not directly sold to consumers, which makes updating or replacing them with more secure models quite difficult. These devices are stuck on the market and the Internet until there is a major global effort to recall and remove these vulnerable systems.

While these innovative manufacturers scramble to find ways to combat this most recent wave of cyber-attacks, rest assured that there are indeed ways to create a line of defence that can protect corporate users from cyber attacks. To weather today’s highly sophisticated Internet attacks, security conscious companies need to replace ineffective antivirus systems with an End Point Security Platform that locks down endpoints and critical systems and arms incident response teams with the most advanced tools to hunt down threats. End point security has a three-pronged approach:

  1. Detection that continuously monitors and analyses endpoints, users, and network activity in search of threatening behaviours, patterns and signatures.

  2. Investigation of every potential threat to identify true threats and eliminate false positives.

  3. Rapid Response regardless of where the affected systems are located, along with detailed and actionable context.

To learn more about end point security, contact the Jamaican end point security experts at Info Exchange at www.infoexchangeja.com, email mybusiness@infoexchangeja.com, or call (876)931-9552 for more information on this and other services offered.

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