FBI ALERT: Cyberattacks Directed at IoT (Internet of Things!) and Strong Passwords Can Help!

15 September 2015 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

The FBI “is warning companies and the general public to be aware of IoT vulnerabilities cybercriminals could exploit” and encourages the use of strong passwords according to a FBI September 10, 2015 Public Service Announcement (PSA) entitled “Internet of Things Poses Opportunities for Cyber Crime.” The PSA Included this example:

Cyber criminals can take advantage of security oversights or gaps in the configuration of closed circuit television, such as security cameras used by private businesses or built-in cameras on baby monitors used in homes and day care centers. Many devices have default passwords cyber actors are aware of and others broadcast their location to the Internet. Systems not properly secured can be located and breached by actors who wish to stream live feed on the Internet for anyone to see. Any default passwords should be changed as soon as possible, and the wireless network should have a strong password and firewall.

The FBI identifies these IoT devices:

  • Automated devices which remotely or automatically adjust lighting or HVAC
  • Security systems, such as security alarms or Wi-Fi cameras, including video monitors used in nursery and daycare settings
  • Medical devices, such as wireless heart monitors or insulin dispensers
  • Thermostats
  • Wearables, such as fitness devices
  • Lighting modules which activate or deactivate lights
  • Smart appliances, such as smart refrigerators and TVs
  • Office equipment, such as printers
  • Entertainment devices to control music or television from a mobile device
  • Fuel monitoring systems

The Networkworld report entitled “Even the FBI is worried about Internet of Things security” included FBI recommendations for protection including using strong passwords:

  • Isolating IoT devices on their own protected networks;
  • Disabling UPnP on routers;
  • Considering whether IoT devices are ideal for their intended purpose;
  • Purchasing IoT devices from manufacturers with a track record of providing secure devices;
  • When available, updating IoT devices with security patches;
  • Being aware of the capabilities of the devices and appliances installed in your homes and businesses.
  • Using strong passwords.

Everyone is at risk, so check out how IoT affects you!

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