Thursday 30th November marks the 29th Computer Security Day – an unofficial “holiday” used to raise awareness of cybersecurity issues that affect us all. At the most basic level, people across the world are encouraged to take the opportunity to create new strong passwords.
The annual Computer Security Day is also a useful chance to assess wider cybersecurity implications, and how well industry and individuals are protecting themselves.
So, what is the current state of IT security?
Security is more complex than ever
Every day new devices are added to home networks, most of which also connect to the Internet. From smart heating thermostats to remote controlled blinds and games consoles, technology is becoming part of the very fabric of our homes. And if smart speakers like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s HomePod sell as well as expected this Christmas, the home network is going to become busier (and more complicated) than ever.
The only drawback to all these devices is that they increase the number of potential attack points for cybercriminals. In the past, hackers would only have the option of breaking into your home PC. But with so many network connected devices to choose from, hacking in has actually become easier.
Security is not being prioritised by manufacturers
In the rush to sell their products as quickly as possible, some manufacturers are cutting corners. The software powering these devices often contains bugs and security holes that can be used by hackers to gain access. Once connected to the device, they can then attack other more important devices, like your laptop or PC.
Where there are decent security provisions on the device, owners are making basic mistakes that place their network at risk. As always, poor passwords are the biggest problem, making the hacker’s job even easier. If you have network connected devices at home, use this Computer Security Day to update all of those passwords too.
We are getting better at cybersecurity
Networks may be more complex than ever, but our security options are also improving. Most home routers used to connect to the Internet now include firewall functions to keep hackers out for instance. And the tools used to detect and remove malware are also improving daily.
In fact, anti-malware is the last line of defence when it comes to protecting your personal data. If hackers do manage to break through defences and compromise network-connected devices like webcams and smart speakers, anti-malware will stop them accessing your computers where the really valuable personal information is held.
If you do nothing else this Computer Security Day, please take a few minutes to download and install a free copy of Panda Antivirus for your PC. You should also take the opportunity to protect your smartphone too – download a free copy of Panda Mobile Security today.