Anatomy of an Attack – The Risks That Unsecured Connected Devices Pose To Your Business

As technology continues to evolve, businesses need to make sure their cybersecurity – and their cybersecurity partner – is up to the growing challenge.

Connected devices  – often referred to as Internet of Things technology (IoT) – are becoming primary targets for cyber attacks. The IoT umbrella covers a wide range of smart devices like smart thermostats, smart locks, and smart alarm systems. These devices are fully connected to your business’ network and offer access to the data and systems that lie behind your firewall. The most important thing about IoT technology to take note of, however, is the fact that these devices are often overlooked or ignored when it comes to cybersecurity.

Over 30 billion of these devices will be connected to the internet by 2020, providing over 30 billion chances for a cybercriminal to beat your security by thinking outside the box.

Proprietary data and software are among the most valuable of business assets. Businesses rely heavily on this data not just to operate day-to-day, but to develop the products and services that make them profitable. Even if your business data isn’t necessarily the stuff of trade secrets, it’s still incredibly valuable to your operation and needs to be protected at all costs.

The way businesses need to approach the task of protecting their network and data is changing just as rapidly as their technology is. Adding new hardware or software to your infrastructure requires adjusting your endpoint protections and other aspects of your cybersecurity defenses accordingly – and that’s not always a straightforward process.

IoT technology is presenting a unique opportunity to already savvy hackers. Social engineering tactics let cybercriminals use basic information, like that found on public social media profiles, to plan out a method of attack. The information they can glean from an employee’s public Facebook profile allows a hacker to fish for more specific information, or sneak malware onto their devices using creative access points like public, low-security websites they’re known to frequent, or even unsecured public Wi-Fi. This then grants hackers unlimited access to your employees, their devices, and the information and secure areas those devices can access.

Take this scenario for example. An injection attack lets hackers leave malware on an unsecured website, which then uses that exploit to infect the device of any user who visits the site. If a hacker has a specific target in mind to bring them to the next step of their attack on your business, all they have to do is wait for that target to visit the site and become infected. When that infect device connects to your business’ internal network, it’s the digital equivalent of your employee holding a door open for the cybercriminal. Except your employee doesn’t realize that’s what they’ve done.

Once they’ve got a foothold, a hacker can do whatever they want until they’re detected by your IT security or an observant employee. Flushing their malware out protects your workstations and servers, and scanning your network confirms that the threat has been dealt with, but only if you scan the entire network. However, if your IoT devices aren’t part of that top-to-bottom systems check, the cybercriminal responsible for the initial intrusion is back to having unrestricted access that lets them continue to do whatever they want, often completely undetected until it’s too late.

How this scenario plays out depends on the cybercriminal behind it. They may just want to steal proprietary data, financial data, or employee personal data. Or, they may decide to steal that data and infect your network with malware that will shut down your systems and throw your business into chaos. They may even only be interested in creating chaos. Regardless, they’ll have the access they need to delete files, wipe hard drives, servers, and backups, and even encrypt your backups if they’re already inside the firewall. Hackers typically only want one of two things – to sell your data for profit or bring your operations to a grinding halt.

Effectively Protecting Your Buffalo and Western New York Business Means Partnering With A Well-Armed IT Provider

The technology security industry is well aware of what these threats are and how they operate, and leading security technology providers are continuously working to protect businesses like yours. Companies like Cisco and Datto have created solutions to combat cyber attacks and data loss from any source, and trust the IT support providers they work alongside to put those solutions in place.

As Cisco Partner, GlobalQuest Solutions is able to offer businesses in Western New York cutting edge security, configured, monitored, and maintained by experienced technicians with up to date certifications and training. With fully integrate IoT facilities of their own, Cisco has an innate understanding of the risks connected devices pose, and how to mitigate those risks. Their security products paired with GlobalQuest’s expertise create a level of cybersecurity protection your business cannot achieve on its own.

And while outside cyber threats are numerous, not all risks to your data originate from outside your walls – or your firewall. Human error on the part of your employees is responsible for a huge portion of the data loss businesses deal with each year, and as a Datto Enterprise Partner, GlobalQuest can take care of that, too. Datto is one of the world’s leading providers of Data Backup and Business Continuity solutions, offering cloud-based data storage insulated from your internal network.

With solutions from Cisco and Datto, your business’ IT infrastructure can be managed and secured, no matter how complex – as long as you have an IT support provider overseeing your cybersecurity who understands this technology inside and out. GlobalQuest Solutions is that IT support provider for Western New York businesses.

Ready to put the power of Cisco and Datto to work for your Buffalo and Western New York business? Contact GlobalQuest Solutions today at info@globalquestinc.com or (716) 601-3524 . We’re the cybersecurity professionals that businesses in Buffalo and Western New York trust.

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