National Cybersecurity Awareness
Stop. Think. And take proper precautions before connecting
Guest Post by: Shaun Murphey
Look around you – what are you wearing, what’s in your pocket or pocket book that’s connected to or has apps that are connected to the internet… Think about your home, work, and every other place you go every day.. what’s connected to the internet and does something to make your life easier? What else are those things capable of doing either by design or by some hacked vulnerability?
The connected future is here and we need to protect ourselves – If I walked up to you and asked for your mother’s maiden name, your cell phone number, your home address, all of your photos, your text messages – here’s a usb stick just copy them all there… would you do that? If not – what’s the difference if you download an app or buy some internet-connected device online?
I know that’s a lot of questions and the reason is to demonstrate what people in tech know – there is a huge incentive to produce an app or device that captures information about the masses and zero incentive to secure your data and privacy…. and it happens in milliseconds – there’s no way for you to see it happen! Despite this doom and gloom, there are things you can do:
1.) Do not offer up personal information to apps and devices. In the event of a data breach, every piece of personal information gathered can be correlated with other breaches to form a detailed picture of who you are. Pretty soon, every bad actor in the world will have access to the questions to your account security questions.
2.) Keep important security devices detached from other devices – Think of an internet-connected door lock paired with Amazon’s Alexa device… what if I walk up to your front door and scream “ALEXA, OPEN THE FRONT DOOR”…
3.) Do some recon on the products and apps you want – is their company or any high-ranking person in the company actively discussing security and privacy concerns or is this some shiny new product you found online?
4.) If the app or product you want has security features – are they enabled by default or is something you have to constantly monitor and enable? Google Allo, for example, made headlines this week about how they are going back on their privacy posture and to get any level of security/privacy you need to enable a special mode.
5.) Create an isolated/guest Wifi network. Cyber threats are not just the ubiquitous hacker sitting in some secret location hacking into your stuff but also internal threats – you, your family/guests, co-workers are all carrying an arsenal of apps and devices that, when connected to your network, can wreak havoc on anything it can find with or without their knowledge. It is not so farfetched that one of your guests brings a phone infested with malware to your Halloween party, connects to your Wifi, infects your internet-connected lights, and now some hacker group on the other side of the world is downloading illegal content from your network / using your computers to mine bitcoin? I can show you the tools exist to do this very thing and it happens all the time.
6.) Consider the eye in the sky – Everyone should question whether their information will be stored on the cloud somehow. Cloud storage is one of the most important considerations, especially in terms of cameras and surveillance devices. The communication for these devices means that the information is being sent through multiple pathways and touching base at several different machines, unprotected pathways spell trouble.
About Shaun Murphy, CEO and Inventor of SNDR.com
Shaun Murphy is one of the nation’s leading experts in communication security with over 20 years experience in the industry. Shaun worked as a subject matter expert on high-level government communications software and hardware systems for numerous agencies. Now, Shaun has dedicated his life to developing technology solutions for the average consumer. His mission is to create a protected communications platform in a world where privacy has almost ceased to exist. Shaun earned his Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Central Florida. He also holds a Masters of Computer Science from Florida Tec with a concentration in pattern recognition and machine learning in communication systems.