WiFi, Emails And Passwords Are Being Held To Ransom

Every week I write about the cyber-threats and vulnerabilities that hackers use to exploit company networks. And every week I urge readers to ensure that they have overprotected networks ...

But more importantly, their employees are sufficiently trained in spotting fake emails and aware of not giving out company Wi-Fi passwords to avoid unauthorised use (unless the password is for the 'guest' network of course).

So, this week I was horrified to read an industry report on the use of a new tactic, involving 'X-rated' material, being sent out in phishing emails (known as 'dynamite' phishing)!

According to the report by GreatHorn, it's not only simply libido driving users to 'click' through, but more intended to 'shock' the user into a reckless decision to 'open the door' to hackers. The spike in these socially engineered 'Business Email Compromise' (BEC) attacks have spiked by a whopping 974%.

Passwords are another vulnerability and can lead to both personal and company data being hacked, breached and leaked onto the internet. The headline, in this case, courtesy of Techradar is, "Largest collection of passwords ever has been leaked online". 8.4 billion passwords to be precise, so now is the time to check every subscription service, online shopping accounts, social media accounts and change those all-important passwords.

"Use a random password generator and a secure password manager service!"

Meanwhile, in the USA, Amazon is now modifying their Smart Home devices (Alexa, Echo and ring Doorbell systems) to 'join' up from house to house, creating a street, suburb and county-wide network to allow even more Internet of Things (IoT) devices to connect by effectively using every single broadband connection, 'bridged' together using Amazon hardware.

Personally, while our desire for having smarter, more connected homes is a very convenient use of technology, I for one won't be allowing any devices from neighbours to share my personal internet connection! Nor will I have bridging firmware built-in anywhere near my home.

It's a fine balance of technology and the constant threat of hackers and scammer forever wanting to commit fraud, using identity theft, trying to get at your hard-earned cash. Businesses can lose millions in both money and reputation when customer data is leaked and that in turn could lead to hundreds, if not thousands of job losses.

Criminals say that they are just trying to survive like anyone else, but there are ways and means of earning a living legitimately and without ruining people's livelihood. We live in a world where our lives can be manipulated in the virtual world, which in turn leads to real-world problems such as adverse credit ratings, loss of £m's in credit card fraud and businesses being held to ransom by data hackers.

"We cannot afford to have the usual 'it won't happen to me' attitude any longer!"

Every single individual and business must conduct regular network vulnerability checks on their systems, review password policies, encrypt customer data in the first instance and do as much as possible to implement Email Security systems to reduce phishing attacks.

In the meantime, keep your online data safe and keep your customer data safer.

If you feel inspired to find out more then do call me on 07555 807700 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.