The need for cyber security is increasing as the number of devices interconnected by cloud technology grows. Because everyday life is growing more reliant on technology, the likelihood of any one cyber attack having significant and far-reaching consequences is also growing. In 2018, researchers from the University of Kent identified fifty-seven different ways in which cyber-attacks could negatively impact individuals, businesses, and countries. With such powerful ramifications, taking steps to protect your data is vital.
Cyber Security for Your Mobile Device
Because smart phones often go everywhere their users do, they’re valuable targets for cyber attacks. From nearly identical Trojan versions of real apps to targeting global phone networks, attacks on mobile phones are increasing.
Earlier this year, investigators at Google discovered a small number of malicious websites were able to hack into iPhones by exploiting vulnerabilities in iOS 10 through 12. A single visit to one of these websites was all it took to severely compromise the user’s phone. By taking advantage of a dozen separate security flaws, cyber criminals gained “root” access to devices. This allowed them to covertly monitor user activity by accessing photos, messages, and saved passwords in addition to tracking location.
When Google privately informed the company in February, it only gave Apple software developers a week to push a fix rather than the usual ninety days. Apple did resolve the problem and issue a software update.
In late August, researchers at Google’s Project Zero went public with their findings on the team’s blog. According to post author, Ian Beer, Project Zero’s ultimate goal is “advocating for structural security improvements in popular systems to help protect people everywhere.” About a week later, Apple released a counter statement stressing the narrow focus of the attack.
Cyber Security for Your Vehicle
Not only can hackers gain access to computers and mobile phones, but they can also target vehicles. As automation features such as keyless entry and remote start systems become increasingly common, vehicles are more at risk for cyber attacks. In 2018, security researchers discovered that they were able to cone a Tesla Model S key fob, open the door, and drive away. With $600 USD in standard radio and computing equipment, they was able break the Model S key fob’s encryption in seconds.
Following this news, Tesla made changes to the physical key fobs. However, researcher Lennert Wouters and his team from Belgian university KU Leuven were once again able to bypass the encryption and replicate a Model S key fob. Although it now takes more time to clone the key, Tesla acknowledged that an attack in this manner was possible. Unlike the 2018 fix, which required new hardware, Tesla will be able to remedy this problem through updated software.
By no means is the Tesla Model S the only vehicle at risk. Keyless entry systems, especially those that don’t require a PIN, are prime targets for relay attacks. Back in 2017, Qihoo 360, a Beijing security firm, demonstrated a relay hack with $22 USD worth of equipment. They were able to reverse engineer the signal, unlock the doors, and drive off. In an effort to prevent cyber attacks, some consumers are storing their key fobs in Faraday bags or turning their fobs off at night.
Improve your knowledge
Having the right tools and systems in place can prevent data breaches and cyber crimes. As the world becomes more automated, it’s crucial for your organization to understand the available cyber security measures to protect its data and devices. Cyber Security Tools for Today’s Environment, an online 11-course program from IEEE, helps businesses improve their security techniques.
Interested in learning about getting access to the course for yourself? Visit the IEEE Learning Network to learn more.
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(6 September 2019). A message about iOS security. Apple Statement.
Beer, Ian. (29 August 2019). A very deep dive into iOS Exploit chains found in the wild. Project Zero.
Whittaker, Zach. (29 August 2019). Malicious websites were used to secretly hack into iPhones for years, says Google. TechCrunch.
Greenburg, Andy. (27 August 2019). Hackers Could Steal a Tesla Model S by Cloning Its Key Fob—Again. Wired.
Sunday Times Driving. (29 January 2019). Six Ways Thieves Can Break Into Your Car and How to Prevent It. Driving.
Greenburg, Andy. (18 September 2018). Hackers Can Steal a Tesla Model S in Seconds by Cloning Its Key Fob. Wired.
Ng, Alfred. (8 March 2018). Your smartphones are getting more valuable for hackers. CNET.
Greenburg, Andy. (24 April 2017). Just a Pair of These $11 Radio Gadgets Can Steal a Car. Wired.