Here’s Looking at You, Kid! Cybersecurity
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a huge increase in the number of people working from home. Many have taken advantage of the number of low cost IT tools available to enable this process. Amongst these are video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype and Teams to name but three.
All of these tools rely on the use of webcams. Some attached to the user’s PC, some integral to their smartphones or tablets. Also, there’s increasing use of small, cheap video cameras in the home for things such as DIY security systems, baby monitors and even video doorbells.
Potential Security Threat
Useful and convenient though these devices and tools are, they also pose a potential security threat to the naive, careless, or unsuspecting user. Many are installed with little thought to security, and many without any form of protection. Criminal hackers are always on the lookout for potential opportunities, and the sheer volume of these devices offers a potential treasure trove for criminals.
A hacker can embed malicious code into a seemingly innocuous email or message. This enables the webcam and, if fitted, the microphone on an unsuspecting user’s computer, smartphone or tablet to be accessed without their knowledge. The hacker then spies on that user’s behaviour at any time the device is powered on and connected to the Internet.
There are various possibilities at this point:
- recording inappropriate behaviour and subsequently threatening to release the recording if a ransom fee isn’t paid;
- recording conversations that reveal sensitive personal or financial data that can be misused or sold on;
- or simply monitoring the user’s behaviour and knowing when they’re in (or absent from) their house or office so that the premises can then be broken into when no one is around.
Improve Your Cybersecurity
So, what can you do to stop ‘them’ looking at you?
- Always use strong passwords for all sites visited including those that control and/or monitor any installed cameras
- Never use the same password for different sites
- Always change the default password on installed devices such as baby monitors, security cameras and doorbells.
- Change the password on any device you connect to your wireless network or the Internet
- Install and use good quality anti-virus and anti-spyware software on all systems and scan them regularly
- Protect home wireless networks by using the supplied encryption tools
- Change the default login and password, especially for an admin user
- Where possible, split domestic networks into separate sections/segments for family, work and devices, and use different logins and passwords for each segment
- Don’t open messages or emails from unknown sources and definitely don’t click on any links or attachments in messages or emails unless you’re absolutely sure of their provenance
- Cover cameras or, if possible, disconnect them when not in use. This specifically applies to stand-alone webcams and integral webcams in laptop computers.
We can help
Performance Plus can help you improve your cybersecurity protection by implementing an Information Security Management System (ISMS). You can then achieve certification for the ISMS against the ISO27001 International Standard thereby demonstrating publicly your commitment to information security. Contact us for a free initial consultation on:
Tel: 01284 330400
We work with small to medium size businesses across the East Anglia Region covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.