How to Be Safe from Hackers

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We use technology every day for work, transportation, obtaining data and to contact each other. Technology is the knowledge that includes tools, materials and systems. There are many kinds of technology such as communication, construction, assistive, medical, information, entertainment, business and educational technology. Technology has without a doubt benefitted humans in so many ways. It helps increase production, makes work easier for people and has played a part in helping the disabled and many more. (Work T, 2018). However, there is more to technology than just its benefits to humans. Following that are threats and risks we put ourselves into every day with the use of excessive technology that we have put so much time, personal information and work into. (Ramey K, 2013). And most of the time, we are unaware that we put ourselves in these positions that makes us an easy target for hackers.

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This essay will be discussing the case study of Virgin Media, a company that supplies telephone, television and internet services and a Hub Hacking Risk. About us. (n.d.). As home users, we are considered to be extremely vulnerable to being hacked and getting our private information stolen as we are no experts in this field but with a little knowledge and actions, we can be aware of the threats faced by these technologies that we use every day and also ways and solutions to prevent them from happening and/or fully stop them from occurring at all. In this essay, it will be discussing on three threats of technology that was identified from the case study given such as Bluetooth threats, home networks threats and having weak passwords. The essay will also provide three solutions such as mobile security procedures, encryption methods and how to create strong passwords to overcome those threats respectively.

The first threat that can be identified from the passage is a Bluetooth threat. From the case study, it is said to that a CloudPets stuffed toy can play voice messages that has been sent by family and friends via Bluetooth. By hacking the toy, the hacker is able to hack into phones that are sending the voice messages. This allows attackers to interrupt, steal or modify the data that is being exchanged between the two devices. On top of that, the hacker can go to the extend of gaining full control of the device. This makes the device and user vulnerable that it is forced to give up information and data. According to a security company, Armis, a total of eight ways called BlueBorne has been identified. It gives the hacker access to people’s phones without any form of interaction. (Biggs J, 2017).

In general, there are 3 attacks hackers can use to hack through Bluetooth; Bluejacking, Bluesnarfing and Bluebugging. Bluejacking is the least harmful attack out of the 3 methods and it is just when the hackers sends unwelcomed messages to devices that can be found through Bluetooth in the vicinity of the hacker. It is done by making use of the Bluetooth’s Electronic card feature as a message carrier. In this case, the hacker does not benefit anything such as getting people’s private information. On the other hand, Bluesnarfing allows hackers to gain some of people’s information with the use of a particular software to request information from a device through the Bluetooth OPEX push profile. This specific attack can be done even if devices are on ‘invisible’ mode but is less likely to occur as the hacker would need time to guess the name of the device. Lastly, Bluebugging is the use of both Bluejacking and Bluesnarfing to hack into a device. The use of the Electronic business card transfer process hacks into a device as a trusted device without the user knowing. With the hackers’ device being a trusted one, they now have the power to control and get information from the device. (Beattie A, 2017).

To ensure mobile security, there are procedures that can prevent these vulnerabilities and intrusions from occurring. The first procedure is to keep the device and mobiles updated regularly. By doing so, it helps users to plug vulnerabilities present in previous versions. Second is to use a mobile device anti-virus. Third is to secure Bluetooth connections. Users can make a security PIN for Bluetooth pairings and it also important not to accept Bluetooth messages from unknown users. Encrypting smartphones data and backing up the data prevents hackers from unauthorized use, even if the phone gets stolen from a hacker. Lastly, users can put their phones on ‘invisible’ mode. (K. S., 2017). However, doing so will not completely guarantee your phone being hacked as hackers are still able to get into the phone via Bluetooth with Bluesnarfing attack.(Beattie A, 2017). Users who secure their mobile devices with these producers have a lower chance of getting their devices hacked into and is very much less vulnerable to mobile devices attacks.

Second threat that can be found from the case study is said that hackers are able to gain access to home networks and connect to appliances in as little as four days. Once a home network is hacked, hackers are able to steal data such as passwords, credit card numbers, emails, financial data, browsing history and even manipulate data shown. With just the home network being hacked, the hackers are able to get into other devices such as baby monitors, smart TVs and any other devices that the home network is connected to, to spy or observe on people or gain full control of the devices leaving the users vulnerable without users knowledge. (n.d., 2018). Most home networks nowadays are wireless nowadays, despite it being more convenient to use, the risk of getting attacked has also increased and users unknowingly open up their networks to external use. Threats such as war driving attack can occur if a Wi-Fi network is not secured enough.

The solution to prevent home networks from being hacked is to change the network name and password that was originally given. Also, users are encouraged to use encryption methods such as WPA2. WPA2 is to protect your Wi-Fi access, compatible with hardware manufactured after 2006 and it is the hardest to crack between the three methods which are WEP, WPA and WPA2. Another way users can secure their home networks that are possibly wireless is to use firewalls, install anti-virus, use encryption and to only browse in secure websites. A firewall is the first line of defense in securing sensitive information in a computer network. Anti-viruses softwares detects and eradicates malwares from a computer system. Encryption is disguises messages in a way to hide its contents. Lastly, browsing to only secure websites prevents the users from getting viruses and other malwares into their computers.(K. S., 2017).

Last threat that can be found in the passage is having weak passwords. It is said in the passage that hackers were able to gain access to 800,000 customer’s passwords who were using a specific router. Most of the time, customers use the password that comes with the router that is randomly made that happens to be frequently reused from older routers and totally neglects on the fact that they have should change that password. Unfortunately, if all those people’s password were able to get hacked, it just means that the passwords that was made and given by the company happens to not be strong enough. On top of that, according to Avast, it is found that a lot of router passwords were not strong enough as a lot of people have used the password or it happens to be easily guessed. For instance, once a hacker gets the password to the Wi-Fi router, they are able to get information such as usernames, passwords and browsing histories. Not only that, they are able to redirect the users into malicious websites rather than the actual one they meant to go to. Known as the DNS hijacking, hackers can make users go to fake online banking sites to steal important financial information which can be used for other attacks acs well. (Smith C, 2014).

The solution for a strong password is to make something unique. Hackers are able to go through the internet for old common passwords for routers and use those as guesses with specific softwares, therefore, home router passwords should be changed regularly so as to make it harder for routers to be hacked. (Narayanan, S. N., Joshi, A., O., & Mittal, S., 2018). A strong password should contain at least 8 characters, it should not be a complete word, it should be different from previous passwords, it should have at least one upper and lower case, one number and one symbol. Lastly, it should be easy to remember. (K. S., 2017). With these steps to take to make a strong password, it is less likely that a user’s router would be hacked as a strong password that is constantly changing is not as easy to hack into as a password that is considered weak and is not changed regularly.

In conclusion, these are the three threats; Bluetooth threats, home networks threats and having weak passwords, that was identified in the case study along with their respective solutions to prevent them from happening. Home users are now the new easy targets for hackers as home networks and their internet-connected devices have become a house’s vulnerability and an opportunity for hackers to steal data from. (Salmi D, 2015). As home users, it is our duty and part to be aware of cyber threats that may affect us immensely. On top of that, not only being aware but also finding out ways to prevent anything from happening is important.

There are other things to keep in mind which is that it is important to not put everything out there in the internet such as private information that could potentially put yourself in the risk of getting it hacked and taken advantage of. It is vital for home users to do anti-virus scans and update softwares regularly as victims can find out if their device is being hacked or has been hacked before during the specific period of time. Alongside that, home user should make it a habit to change passwords for their devices often in the case where a hacker has gotten their password and has exploited it without their knowledge. Lastly, in this generation, social media use has been increasing and a lot of us showcase everything to the world. It would be better if profiles are to be made private so that users can choose and allow who sees their posts and information. This way, not everyone can see the things we share. (Carson, J, 2018).

To end it off, it is important for home users to be aware of these threats and they can also help others by creating and spreading awareness on this topic. This way, everyone can be safe from hackers who are bound to get sneakier with their tactics.

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