Cyber Security: Hacking and Prevention Guide

16 February 2017

The term ‘hacking’ is currently mentioned on a daily basis in media reports but what are hackers actually capable of?

Businesses have become accustomed to a constant influx of new technological devices, however they are not always ready to stop and ask the question “Could this device expose me or my business to the threat of a hack?” Typically when discussing hacks, most will assume that devices capable of being hacked are computers, laptops, tablets or mobile phones, but trust us, you’ll be surprised as to exactly what devices can be hacked. Our cyber security experts are aware of or have even been involved in investigation cases where the following devices have been successfully attacked:

  • Drones
  • Cars
  • Coffee machines
  • Fridges
  • Heating devices
  • Medical implants

The common denominator for all of the above is their Internet connectivity.

Technical experts have successfully demonstrated an attack on a Wi-Fi enabled coffee machine that facilitated access to the whole of the owner’s wireless network, with the original attack providing the authorisation in terms of gaining access into a computer network.

Envisage the scenario where an attacker is able to take control of your Internet enabled central heating system and upload Ransomware onto the device.  They could then have the ability to override your control of the heating, preventing the boiler from working and demanding a ransom to restore control back to you.  Would you want to spend the winter period in your house where you could not control your heating?

What is hacking?

Hacking is the exploitation of known vulnerabilities in Internet connected servers and devices using widely available tools and techniques.  In October 2016, over 142m records were reportedly leaked, this included:

  • 58m subscriber details from MBS Systems
  • 43m customer details from website builder Weebly
  • Cyber-attack on ticketing platform RedBus
  • Credit card breach at Hutton Hotel chain
  • Credit card breach at the US Republiccan Party website
  • DDOS attack on DYN (DNS) affecting Twitter, Spotify & others

What motivates hackers?

The process of locating vulnerabilities and performing a hack can be very time consuming and costly for hackers. Not to mention that it also involves the sacrifice of any moral compass. Therefore, to perform these hacks, there must be an incentive for these hackers and there is – in abundance.

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