Contrary to belief, having the best IT and internet security setup, multi-factor authentication in place with an extremely complicated password which is changed regularly doesn’t prevent you from being hacked, the right security will certainly block individuals from gaining access to a systems root and any bit of software that requires a login, but only if this is maintained and kept up to date frequently, and even then if there is an unknown exploit hackers will still find their way in, until there is a patch for said exploit.
Something I find remarkable about penetration testing is not just how easy it is to find personal and private data, much thanks to social media and Google’s search engine, but the clever tools created, developed and openly shared through the hacker and ethical hacker networks, and anyone can become a hacker, preferably an ethical one of course! Surprisingly the ability to code, though certainly advantageous, isn’t a necessity or requirement to becoming a seasoned pro. A basic understanding of an open-source operating system in this instance Linux, networking protocols, scripting, as well as a strong desire to learn is all that an individual requires, and many of the successful experts I have come across so far (those who can code and others who cannot) both share something in common, great imaginations, the ability to look outside the box, delve deeper and discover the things others before them had not, as quoted by Albert Einstein:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, simulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
We only have to look at science fiction novels, sitcoms and movies to see this in action, The Jetsons the popular 1960s cartoon used video calling, Star Trek The Next Generation used 3D printers, Total Recall had self driving vehicles, Metropolis from 1927 had robots, Fahrenheit 451 had earbuds, The Terminator had military flying drones, and the lesser known Le Voyage Dans La Lune from 1902 looked at space travel, and though we can’t prove that any of the above influenced the development of these technologies, it is a well known fact that science fiction does influence innovation by solving real life problems, in effect theories are sci-fi until they are no longer a theory and proven to be correct or incorrect.
But as great and as scary as all of this sounds, how does it help you and how can you better protect yourself and your business? Well fortunately major organisations either allow ethical hackers to attack their systems for practice to inevitably help find exploits to patch, others hire teams of pen testers and the likes of Tesla have their own in-house pen testing teams as well as allowing anyone to hack not all but the majority of their sites and software, in an attempt to patch every doorway before it can be discovered, and many use security tracking software that alarms the company to a breach, the software usually blocks the hacker at the first instance, preventing them from going further in that direction, all of the above certainly helps in the fight but isn’t 100% full proof and that is why you should ensure you have your best interests protected.
What You Can Do To Better Protect Yourselves
- One of the first things anyone should do to protect themselves is to check if your websites, email addresses, passwords or phone numbers have been compromised, to do this set up a notification through Pwned (haveibeenpwned.com). Pwned is a dedicated website that allows internet users to check whether their personal information has been breached.
- Change your passwords, follow our Password best practice guide HERE.
- Clean up your digital footprint, old online accounts from social media and email accounts, to online stores and dating sites that you no longer use can all be weaponised against you, so remove yourself from anything you no longer use.
- Delete emails containing any private information. When buying products online or registering with an estate agent for example you will likely receive emails some with attachments like an invoice containing sensitive information which hackers are on the lookout for. Be sure to not just delete those emails, take screenshots or download the attachments if you need, and be sure to delete any received or replied emails within that chain, and finally empty your trash.
- Keep everything up to date. Ensure everything that you own that’s connected to the internet or connected to other devices that connect to the internet are updated to the latest firmware. I bet you didn’t think for example that your earbuds could spy on you, well they can and Bjørn Martin Hegnes a computer science student in Norway has been using equipment that can locate people and their devices via their Bluetooth connected earbuds.
- Use IT experts. No one knows how to protect your systems better than IT professionals, the clue is in their job title. In this day and age it is a no brainer to have IT support in place to protect you and your customers, your IT team will ensure to keep all your systems up to date on the latest firmware, install the latest security and will be ready equipped to tackle head on any attacks to your systems that may occur, making sure there is as little downtime as possible.
It can be an extremely costly headache not ensuring that you and your business are protected, and the simplest of things could well be your downfall. It’s easy for us to forget or overlook what may become our enemy used against us, the internet is not a secure place, you wouldn’t leave you smartphone on the dashboard of your car when you go out, or leave your car keys on a window seal for passers by to see, so why leave everything online in plain view of hackers?
And finally, don’t be a ‘know it all’, at the very least get a tech support company to audit your current setup for peace of mind.
If you would like to find out how we can help you to better protect your systems then simply call us today on 01737 824 003, or email us at email@example.com