Cyber Campaign Targeting Millions of Devices


devicesThere is an aggressive foreign campaign targeting millions of US devices.
Here’s what you need to know:

The U.S. and U.K. have issued a joint warning about an aggressive campaign by cyber criminals targeting internet devices in homes, businesses and government locations. According to the report, the goal of the cyber criminals is to control the devices for espionage, theft of intellectual property and preparation for a possible future attack against crucial infrastructure.

Officials are worried about increasingly common devices in homes and businesses enabled by Wi-Fi, known as “internet of things” devices. Lax security makes millions of machines vulnerable, as they could be used not only for spying but also as tools for further attacks.

The “Mirai botnet” attack in 2016 is a prime example of the type of attack U.S. and U.K. officials are concerned about. Cyber criminals hacked into and hijacked thousands of internet-connected devices like cameras and DVRs, and then used them to ping web addresses, sending high volumes of web traffic to target servers. The resulting cyber attack was the largest of its kind ever recorded and crippled the online presence of the world’s largest companies.

The next version of the Mirai attack could target even more devices without their owners ever knowing, especially as the number of internet-connected smart devices grows in homes and workplaces. The fear is that hackers could cause damage to more than just the devices—they could target an electrical grid or other crucial infrastructure.

Cyber threats are complex in nature and not expected to go away any time soon. However, the solution could be as easy as occasionally changing the default password on a home router and staying up to date is half the battle.

Reduce Your Risk by Resetting Your Router

Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to tell if your router is infected. To protect yourself, it is recommended that you:

  • Reset your router to disrupt the malware. This can be done by simply turning the router off and on or holding the reset button down on your device. For further protection, you may want to consider doing a factory reset of your router.
  • Install any firmware updates. These updates are typically found on the manufacturer’s website. You may need to search by your router’s model number, which can be found on the back of the device.
  • Create a new, secure password for your router.
  • Disable remote management settings.

For help performing any of the above steps, contact your router manufacturer.

Taking the initiative to invest in cyber security and improve employee security awareness is vital for defending a business from cyber attacks.

Businesses should re-evaluate their efforts to make sure their security measures are effective. Vulnerability scans, penetration testing and red team exercises are three types of tests that businesses can use to assess their cyber security.

Vulnerability Scans

Vulnerability scans and assessments use automated tools to identify cyber weaknesses. They’re typically used to find known or common vulnerabilities, such as those used in past breaches and those that provide paths of least resistance for attackers trying to enter the network. Vulnerability scans are most useful for small and mid-sized organizations with limited cyber security resources.

Penetration Tests

Penetration tests are simulated attacks that use information acquired from vulnerability scans in an effort to access or penetrate the enterprise network. When a penetration test occurs, enterprises and security professionals may or may not know of the test in advance. Penetration tests can be performed by internal staff or external vendors. They’re most beneficial for organizations of medium maturity looking to uncover gaps in security.

Red Team Exercises

When using a red team to assess security, employees assume the exercise is a real-life situation and do not know about it in advance. Red team exercises help organizations gauge realistic responses to attempted attacks by mimicking attackers and attempting to break into the organization in any way possible. Mature organizations with specialized cyber security skills would benefit most from red teaming exercises, which can uncover security gaps both inside and outside of the network. Red team exercises can be conducted by internal staff or by external vendors.

How we can help

Performing a risk assessment and acquiring adequate cyber coverage—A risk assessment can help determine what type of cyber coverage is right for your business, as it identifies potential losses that could result from security failures.


© 2018 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved. This publication is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as compliance or legal advice. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly.