Halloween is full of ghouls and ghosts! Don't let your personal information get in the hands of the wrong people. Here are 4 hacking horror stories that are sure to make you double check your security this Halloween!
1.) Ransomware Attacks On Hospitals
The Issue: In a recent blog post we mentioned that 75% of the healthcare industry has been infected with malware, this goes a little further. It is becoming more common for hospital's to experience ransomware attacks, an example of this happened at a Hollywood Hospital in Los Angeles.
The Hack: The Los Angeles hospital was hit with ransomware and required to pay a ransom of $3 million in bitcoin. The hospital ended up paying $17,000 to gain access back to its files. While they did have the data backed up on server, the compromised server and the backup were connected to the network at the time of the breach. Meaning they couldn't access the backups either.
This puts a lot of patients at risk. Without access to its records the hospital can't provide the proper care to its patients and this can result in potential death.
The Resolution: This is an ongoing issue for the healthcare industry because of the old systems that they are using and lack of IT budget. In the healthcare industry roughly 2% of the budget is allocated to IT and only about 10% of it is used for security.
The hospital already paid the ransom by the time they got law enforcement involved. The attack forced the hospital to return to pen and paper record keeping until systems were restored.
2.) Compromising Baby Monitors
The Issue: With many baby monitors now able to connect to your smartphone and by extension your personal network, it has become more common for hackers to connect to your baby monitors and cause all sorts of trouble for you. In one example a hacker even played music through the monitor to scare the family.
The Hack: When a baby monitor is compromised the hacker can access a variety of information from your baby monitor whether it's through the video camera or the audio playback features by connecting to your home network. This leads to a serious invasion of privacy and can allow the hacker to access very sensitive private information that may come up in conversation such as financial or medical information.
The hacker can then use the information gained this way to extort you or your family for money.
The Resolution: To avoid hacks like these: first, be sure that your password for the baby monitor you are using follows best practices. Also, make sure your wi-fi is password protected. In addition, keep your monitoring system up-to-date with any security patches the manufacturer may release, including antivirus and firewall.
3.) Hacked Through Public Wi-Fi
The Issue: When connecting to a public wi-fi connection you always run the risk of having information stolen from an outside source. When you're connected to public wi-fi anyone else on the network can access your devices to get to your personal information. This can range from attacks known as a "man in the middle" attack to creating fake wi-fi connections to steal data.
Watch this video from Security Awareness Training company KnowBe4 that describes exactly how hackers gain access to sensitive information via public wi-fi.
The Hack: In an attack referred to as the "Man in the Middle" method a hacker disrupts the direct connection between a user and a wi-fi connection to collect information. While the fake wi-fi connection is a connection set up by the hacker, it looks very similar to a legitimate network.
Cybercriminals use generic names for the wi-fi network that look like something a business would use. For example they may use a name such as "STARBUCKS Guest" when the actual name for the network is "Starbucks Guest." The hacker can then use this connection to steal information from a user.
The Resolution: These types of attacks effect some 689 million users a year and an average victim can spend as many as 19.7 hours trying to deal with losses or damages. To avoid this problem, do not use unsecured public wi-fi connections. If you must, never go to websites that include personal information such as banking or medical records.
4.) Personal Webcam Hackers
The Issue: Many of us feel safe when we're in our own home but in reality, one of the fastest growing cybercrimes are people hacking into the cameras of home computers.
The Hack: A perfect example of this happened to Miss Teen USA in 2013. Cassidy Wolf was in her first year of college when she received an email from a hacker that had hijacked her webcam. The hacker had access to watch Cassidy through her webcam and threatened to post videos and pictures of her to her social media accounts if she didn't do what he had asked.
The Resolution: It had turned out that the hacker was someone that Cassidy had went to high school with and she was only one of the victims of his crimes. The FBI had gotten involved and managed to track down the hacker who was 19 year old Jared James Abrahams. He was held on $50,000 bond and had his internet usage monitored.
Some ways to avoid this from happening are to disable your external webcam while you're not using it. Make sure your passwords are secure and be careful of any attachments that may come in through email. If you do not feel that is safe enough you can always cover the camera with a piece of tape for extra security.
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