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How the 2016 Cyberattack Affects You

Cyberattack

Cybercrime can take many different forms.  For most of us, the mention of a cyberattack may bring up thoughts of credit card fraud or identity theft.  There seems to be no end to the attacks on major companies like Target and Home Depot.  Attacks on government agencies like the IRS and the OPM (Office of Personnel Management) resulted in millions of people having their personal information compromised.

The cyberattack that took place last Friday, October 21st, however, may hit closer to home.

You may have heard the term “Internet of Things” (IoT).  This phrase refers to any device connected to the internet, the number of which grows daily.  Samsung’s new ad with actors Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell is about their smart refrigerator.  You might have a smart TV.  Your phone and computer was just the beginning.  The Internet of Things is offering us more convenience and personalization in products like baby monitors, remote controls, lighting, smoke alarms, thermostats, and routers.  As this list grows, and so many companies get in the IoT game, security will become more and more important.

Samsung Smart Refrigerator

Samsung Smart Refrigerator

The cyberattack that took place Friday was directed at a tech company called Dyn.  Dyn’s role is to monitor and route traffic for major internet companies including Twitter, Spotify, Airbnb, Netflix, PayPal, The New York Times, and CNBC.com.

Malware, which refers to a type of hostile software that can include things like viruses and spyware, puts the security of many of these devices at risk.  This attack used a new type of malware that takes control of tens of millions of personal devices connected to the internet.  The malware, called the Mirai botnet, took over devices that, as the Chief Strategy Officer at Dyn put it, “literally turns them into attack vectors”.  That overwhelmed Dyn’s systems, which meant their clients’ sites were down for as many as several hours.

Technology research company Gartner estimates the number of smart-home devices will grow from 6.4 billion last year to 20.8 billion in 2020.

A hacker group called New World Hackers has claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming more may be on the way.  Lance Cottrell, Chief Scientist for cyber security firm Ntrepid, says the long-term solution lies in improving the security of all internet-connected devices.

With a shortage of skilled cyber security workers around the globe, the question may be, “Can we keep up?”

Carolina Career College offers Information Technology certification training and career placement assistance, including Security & Network Infrastructure Specialist, an IT program with elements of cyber security.

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