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6 New Digital Home Security Threats

BY Allconnect Inc | Mon Feb 22, 2016
6 New Digital Home Security Threats

Between DSL, satellite and fiber optic Internet, there are plenty of ways to make sure you and your family can get online throughout your home. More and more devices require connections, but unfortunately your smart TV or Internet-enabled kitchen appliances may have a serious downside.

According to McAfee Labs, home security needs have changed radically in the past few years, and much of this revolves around cyber safety. Taking steps to physically secure your home with alarms, remote video cameras and sturdy locks is still important for protecting against the usual threats that keep homeowners up at night, but in the 21st century, ensuring your family is safe from theft also includes a robust digital strategy.

Here are some of the most pertinent issues facing your home’s cybersecurity.

1. Hardware attacks
While generally speaking, major attacks on hardware are still confined to major corporations or universities, McAfee reported that there has been an uptick in the number of localized attacks on personal computer hardware or other devices.

These cyberattacks may often just serve as an exercise for hackers, and they may infiltrate a private computer just for the sake of doing so. Fortunately, McAfee also stated that as computers continue to get smarter, the cost of hardware-based data encryption will decrease, making it easier and more affordable for computers to protect internal information from an outside attack.

2. Botnets and zombies
An increasingly popular Internet crime involves a remote takeover of personal computers and Web-enabled devices, Webroot reported. A “bot” refers to a specific type of software application or code script that allows someone to run a command thousands of times in a row. These can be utilized by criminals to send malicious attacks to your personal computer. This makes it so hackers can remotely control your computer, turning it into a “zombie.”

Criminals may take over many different computers and networks to be used for even larger attacks involving spam or malware. Webroot stated that an unprotected Internet connection may be all it takes for your computer to become exposed.

Attacks on home computers can be very difficult for homeowners.
Attacks on home computers can be very difficult for homeowners.

3. Attacks on the Internet of Things
Cybercriminals are incredibly resourceful when it comes to taking advantage of faulty or inadequate security measures, and according to Wired, the proliferation of Internet enabled devices serves to create more points of entry for online attacks.

The Internet of Things is a relatively new phenomenon, whereby more and more everyday technologies are connected to the Internet and can communicate between one another. Everything from cars and appliances to toys and cellphones can now get online, and Wired stated that all of these devices could become vulnerable to botnet attacks and other cybersecurity risks. Your digital thermostat or smart TV may be taken over by a cybercriminal without ever knowing in the first place. Once again, having a robust Internet security system is important for minimizing any of these risks.

4. Wearable vulnerabilities
While your Web-enabled fridge or an old iPad may represent an opportunity for hackers to take advantage of extra computing power, your personal fitness tracker or other wearable technology represents a different sort of cybersecurity challenge. These devices hold an impressive amount of data and valuable personal information.

McAfee reported that wearable fitness devices or smart watches can also serve as a means for cyberattackers to reach smartphones. Unfortunately, it may be possible that hackers soon have the means to compromise fitness apps and access personal data for phishing and spam campaigns.

5. Cloud-based compromises
More often than not, our personal data is not stored locally on a computer or smartphone but instead is sent to the cloud, usually a massive server farm or computing network that hold onto information until it is needed or recalled. This is an incredible way to cut costs and improve efficiencies, but McAfee stated that this does represent new security concerns.

“Taking steps to protect yourself and your devices is critical.”

Any security breach could allow hackers precious information to exploit companies or steal data. In the next few years, attacks on cloud service providers are expected to rise.

As an individual, your personal data is not particularly valuable. According to ZD Net, a stolen identity will only fetch about $1 on the Dark Web. Instead, attacks on regular people and their computers are either a mistake or a means of attacking a larger target. Having said that, having your identity stolen or a computer compromised can be an incredibly difficult and expensive problem to resolve. For that reason, taking steps to protect yourself and your devices is critical.

6. Data manipulation
Wired reported that new cyberattacks may be able to compromise the integrity of digital information. Instead of releasing or deleting data, hackers may be able to change things entirely. This can put your own personal information at risk and poses an even larger threat to systems operators and organizations that may be vulnerable to attack.

Sabotaging data may be hard to notice, Wired stated. Slight changes can cause massive changes in information that lead to accounting problems, financial fraud or other serious crimes.

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