In the year 2017, there was an approximated 8.4 Billion devices connected to the internet. These include the servers that host our favorite websites, to the laptops we use at home, and everything in between. With this being said, this also means that there are 8.4 Billion devices that have to be secured to ensure safe operation by consumers and users. And this number is expected to rise to a whopping 11.1 Billion devices in the year 2018. So we have our work cut out for us for the years to come.
If we delve into the realm of cyber-security as a whole, there are layers upon layers of security methods, technology, processes along with professionals with the skills to perform and maintain such things. But to the layman, these concepts can be daunting and overwhelming to try and grasp. However, there are things that all of us can do to minimize risk and keep safe no matter your skill level.
First off, we need to be conscious of what we all have on our computers & devices. Simply employing your standard ubiquitous anti-virus & anti-malware can be a huge help in identifying files with malicious intent either already on your PC, or something picked up during a download. If you do not already have an anti-virus or anti-malware on your devices already, my advice is immediately stop reading this article, and download free versions of these. If you already have it, then you need to ensure that is updated at all times. Malware is always evolving and getting better at being hard to detect. The way we stay up to snuff is by making sure anti-virus/malware software we employ has access to updated signature databases containing brand new threats and methods of detection.
Secondly, learn your firewall. It’s the gatekeeper that decides what gets to communicate to and from your devices. Its paramount that only genuine and known services are allowed outgoing communications. Keep in mind what your device is primarily used for, and ensure that only proper ports are opened on them.
Lastly, always keep your devices updated. New updates normally contain patches and plugs for any recent holes in security. And this method applies to both Operating System and Software Updates.
Now these items discusses are not the cure-all solution by any means, but these are some basic ways to keep ourselves from being the “low-hanging fruit” in the age of IOT (internet-of-things). Here are some additional tips on Device Security:
Enable traffic filters if available. Windows NT and most UNIX systems have built-in or freely available software that allows more control of the kinds and sources of IP traffic that are accepted.
Remove unnecessary accounts on the system. Rename existing administrative or root accounts to something unique and hard to guess.
Remove unnecessary and overly generous file permissions for both accounts and the file system.
Reduce the number of network services that are running and accessible to the Internet.
Remove unnecessary software and features, which reduces the overall complexity of the system. This includes removing additional protocols such as IPX, AppleTalk, NetBIOS, DLC, LAT, and DecNET.
Remove software that allows access to internal system information, such as SNMP.