Connected and  unprotected devices, apps - what can go wrong?

by Vikram Venkatasubramanian

As we continue our research and development here at Nandi Security, we have been finding a few troubling things. And it turns our, so have a few others. The infographic above is but a snapshot of the scope of the problem we are working diligently to solve for. And no, I am not trying to indulge in fear mongering - not my objective nor desired result. My intent here is to solely educate and raise awareness. So, please take a moment to view it and try to get a sense of what is means for each of our homes.

Ok, let me put it this way and please hear me out -  with the growth of high speed home internet connections and the commoditization of internet connected devices and services, many homes today have enough computing, network and storage to rival the IT infrastructure of small/medium enterprises from a couple of decades ago. In other words, we have all slowly accumulated a diverse variety of devices, apps and services that store voluminous amounts of data about us and our families. These connected devices, apps and services are portals to our financial, health, activity, lifestyle and social network data – our whole lives summarized in 1’s and 0’s. Everyone knows this and I shall take my Captain Obvious hat off now.  Now, the vendors that sell us these connected devices, apps and services tout security and privacy features that lend an aura of confidence that our information is safe but we have all found out time and again that it never really was.

Now, let us pause a moment and think of this from the perspective of the bad guy and the tools available to them today. Hacker tools have become so commoditized and automated that the skill level needed to use them is now much lower i.e. the pool of bad actors they are available to is now MUCH larger. The rewards and motivations for these nefarious actions keep getting higher as well - some examples below:

  • Many of us work from home today and the incentive to get onto your home network is greater since it could be an easy portal to your employer’s corporate network. So, that makes your home an even more valuable target to a hacker.
  • Using devices on your home network to put to use for crypto mining – well, that’s happened too.
  • We have all been victims of identity theft - well, we all knew THAT – often a result of stealing our credentials through phishing, vishing, malware, etc. These credentials of ours are now readily available for sale on several dark net marketplaces. And you can check which credentials of yours have been stolen here
  • Using devices in your home to launch cyberattacks on governmental agencies and corporations? Believe it or not – that has happened too – 6 years back!

In enterprise cybersecurity, they call it the ‘Attack Surface’ – the combination of digital footprints and avenues that are available to be taken advantage of by a malicious individual or entity. So, what is YOUR family’s attack rurface?  It is this problem that we ponder on the most.

But in the meanwhile, the good news is that there is a lot you CAN do, for completely free,  to better defend yourself and your home. It takes effort, I will not lie but it is worth it and yes, did I say FREE??? Here are 3 wonderful resources from the US government:

Yes – free, wonderful and from the government! This is THAT big a problem that even the government did something about it! So, please, don’t let your home be a sitting duck to a hacker – you can start protecting your online privacy and security today!

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