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A Cup of Christmas Caution

 With the memory of the recent Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack on a part of the internet that redirected traffic fresh in my mind, I was taken aback when I read an article stating that over eighty different Sony products that connect to the internet can easily be hacked.

And then I read another article about a new botnet attacking the West Coast using the Internet of Things (IoT).  This Internet of Things has many useful, geeky and otherwise, nifty-neato things.  We have thermostats, security cameras, appliances and home entertainment gadgetry that can be remotely accessed by our smartphones and other carry along devices.  Therein lies the double edged sword.  The Mirai botnet used to attack these connected devices has caused some of the largest DDOS attacks this year.  It did not need to infect a PC as we think of computers but instead used the small computers in internet connected thermostats, home security cameras and so on.  Why? Because it could.  How? Mainly because the passwords of these devices were never changed from the default ones they came with. 

According to the security experts at CloudFlare, this new and currently unnamed botnet has the potential to be more damaging than the Mirai attack.  They also think it will utilize these IoT gadgets in much the same way Mirai did. 

I don’t mean to pollute anyone’s punchbowl here but I want to advise everyone who is putting a new toy onto this great network of things to exercise some caution.  CHANGE THE DEFAULT PASSWORD!  Especially the one in your home Wi-Fi router.  Your neighbor could have great fun if you get a NEST or other thermostat and don’t set it up with any kind of security.  As a word of caution, there are internet sites out there that look for, locate and list internet accessible cameras.  Did I mention to change the password when you set this stuff up?  Guys, I know it goes against our nature, but read the manual if you have to.   Don’t make it easy on these weasels to use your IoT devices to launch another denial of service attack. 

                                                                                                                          “It’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.”

                                                                                                                                                            -Joseph Heller

                Most importantly, on behalf of myself and everyone at Covington have a safe and happy holiday.

 

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Covington Investment Advisors, Inc.
301 E. Main Street
Ligonier, PA 15658
Phone: 724-238-0151
Fax: 724-238-0148
Email: covington@covingtoninvestment.com