IoT malware attacks surged 66% in the last year. And this has a lot to do with home Wi-Fi. When office workers headed home in their millions, households of smart devices awaited. The same consumer Wi-Fi connecting these devices was, with little time for preparation, used to connect business devices. Cybercriminals saw a double opportunity for minimal extra effort. Compromise vulnerable Wi-Fi networks to access personal devices and where layers of business security were absent, access corporate networks too. Although personal devices can be rich pickings, the rush of IoT attacks is likely motivated by the allure of high ransoms, should business data or systems be stolen or encrypted.

Home Wi-Fi vulnerabilities are so momentous that a leading UK watchdog issued a warning to the public, covered by major news outlets. Research found that 13 common Wi-Fi router models provided by the likes of Sky, Virgin Media, and EE were putting users at increased risk of cyberattack. Experts estimate that 6 million people could be affected. Many of whom will be undertaking business activity and handling sensitive data while utilising hazardous routers.

The report concluded that 2 critical reasons were behind vulnerable Wi-Fi. A lack of firmware updates – essential for cybersecurity. And weak default passwords that were easy to hack. Responsibility for firmware updates in consumer routers lies wholly with the service provider. However, there are steps businesses can take to protect their operations, data, and colleagues from falling victim to nefarious attack. After all, routers initiate the connection to the internet that is powering many an organisation, even if the hardware is not under your management.

 

Firstly, businesses must instruct their remote workers to regularly change their Wi-Fi router passwords. Our infographic explains how colleagues working from home can do this, along with 11 other tips for practicing good cybersecurity hygiene when using home Wi-Fi.

 

And secondly, businesses must implement a robust, additional layer of internet security in the form of a fit-for-purpose firewall. This will protect against vulnerable W-Fi being used by remote users, that is beyond business control. It goes without saying that organisations will have firewall and VPN infrastructure in place. But we encourage you to evaluate how suitable your firewall is for current operational models, and how effectively is responds to an evolving cyberthreat landscape.

 

If your business, (or users by the unwelcome virtue of shadow IT) are deploying free or consumer-grade solutions, or software that has not been reconfigured for over 12 months, make urgent changes now. You can contact our helpdesk here or read about our firewall managed service here. Available with no upfront costs and a rolling monthly contract.

If your firewall is generally well-suited and in acceptable shape, we still recommend undertaking an audit. Ask yourself the following questions about your firewall solution. If you are missing any one of the listed capabilities, arrange a consultation with Starcom. We can deliver next-generation SonicWall firewalls on fully managed, monthly contracts, configured to your security and operational needs.

 

 

1 – Deep memory inspection 

A firewall with deep memory inspection is essential for detecting encrypted threats, which jumped 21% in Europe last year. As encrypted attacks intelligently mask malware within apparently safe online traffic or communications, far superior security awareness and software is required. SonicWall’s have a patented solution with real-time deep memory inspection (known as RTDMI) capable of intercepting encrypted threats. This product is also highly effective at identifying “never-before-seen-threats”. In fact, in 2020 it found 268,362 – an increase of 74% from 2019.

 

2- Network and cloud sandboxing 

Cyberthreats are becoming more evasive and being developed at astonishing rates. Including strains that target particular working setups – i.e., remote working – and geographical locations. To keep up with the cybercriminals, your firewall should feature malware-analysis technologies and be able to detect evasive advanced threats. This is called sandboxing technology, and scans traffic to extract suspicious code and analyse a broad range of file types and sizes.

This capability enables businesses to block day-zero threats than can slip through the security controls of less sophisticated firewalls. Organisations need to consider both on-premises and cloud-delivered sandboxing based on individual performance and privacy needs. Also ask whether a firewall solution examines every byte before delivering a final sandboxing verdict. To block, or not to block?

 

3 – Dedicated threat intelligence 

Cybercriminals are continually learning and advancing. In fact, they are dedicated to the study of how to best breach a business’ firewall. To counteract risk, you should be using a firewall product that is fed by a constant stream of new intelligence. SonicWall’s next-generation firewall products are augmented by threat intelligence generated by a team of experts advanced machine learning algorithms and security sensors spread around the globe. This means that your business firewall is always updated with the latest threats and signatures – no matter how new – and is protected from threats in literally nanoseconds.

 

Worried about remote users and their vulnerable Wi-Fi? For help upgrading to a next-generation firewall that defends against new cyberthreats, contact Starcom. Book a call with our experts on 0844 579 0800 or email enquiries@starcom.tech

 

by Craig Bradshaw

Head of Account Management

A technology enthusiast working in the Technology industry for almost 20 years, looking to deliver exceptional customer experience.

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