Physical security without Cybersecurity is vulnerable to point where it isn’t reliable enough for providing security.
From the hallowed halls of Facebook to a residential home in everyday America, privacy and data is at risk. The growing threat of cyber-attack is so widespread and pronounced that it’s hard for a professional security provider and reseller to wrap their arms around it.
What’s certain is that addressing cybersecurity and malicious threats in a proactive manner are table stakes in a company’s profitability and can’t be ignored.
Cyber breaches are in the news daily, with botnets, hackers, ransomware and network takeovers the rule rather than the exception.
Physical security are vulnerable and frequently exploited by botnets
As previously discussed in this blog, physical security has undergone a technological revolution in the least several decades, making it digitized and connected, two trends that have also introduced a significant amount of cyber-risk. Throughout the last 18 months, hackers have started targeting this segment more aggressively, attacking everything from residential to commercial and even federal physical security deployments. The Mirai botnet was the first of many IoT botnets to make the headlines, and it specifically targeted and exploited a security vulnerability in CCTV cameras. Following this watershed event, many other weaknesses have been exposed, and utilized, by hackers. In another incident, open camera feeds/ports from a major IP camera manufacturer left households and businesses with uninvited viewers looking into their residence and protected premises through their surveillance devices. Another major security cameraprovider has also been clobbered—this time with a bug discovered by researchers—and now is scrambling to fix critical security holes found in its popular line of cameras.
Even in cases where the device itself was sufficiently secured, the home or industrial router it used to communicate could be hacked and exploited. KRACK, short for Key Reinstallation Attack, was discovered in the WiFi network security standard Wireless Protected Access (WPA) and WPA2. In essence, it tricks devices to reinstall an already in-use encryption key, resulting in potentially allowing traffic to be intercepted and decrypted. Unfortunately, the weakness is in the WiFi standard, putting most devices at risk.
Ransomware gets greedy
Still another potentially devastating problem is ransomware. Ransomware presents a major threat across all businesses and vertical markets and is when an attacker manages to successfully place malware on the network with the intent of encrypting critical data or locking systems—to hold the business ‘ransom’ for payments and with the promise of releasing or unlocking the system.
In 2017, just prior to the presidential inauguration, hackers took over 70 percent of the network video recorders run by the city of Washington, D.C., leaving them unable to record for days. Reportedly, engineers were able to go to each location and conduct a system wipe and reinstall rather than handing over ransom.
Is your camera viewing, mining or being hijacked?
Since ransomware requires the consent (i.e. surrender) of the victim, it does not always work. If sufficient backup exists and the manpower to replace or reboot systems is available, some will prefer not to pay but to simply wipe the devices and servers clean and “start over.” Cybercriminals are aware of this challenge, and have devised a stealthy approach that uses the victim’s computing power to mine cryptocurrencies instead of demanding ransomware. The advantages are clear: such crypto mining malware can operate for a very long duration undisturbed (it does not announce itself to the victim in the same manner that ransomware does), and during this time it can produce significant yield for its operator. It was recently demonstrated that 15,000 infected internet-connected devices could mine $1,000 of cryptocurrency in four days—and this activity can go on unnoticed for much longer than that. While not denying immediate service, this activity consumes bandwidth used by the local network, slows down devices, drains batteries quicker and can reduce device lifespan (and in extreme cases, even cause hardware failure).
What can the physical security industry do?
These are the days and times in which we live and physical security providers must practice their profession. The playlist of malicious attacks will only become more sophisticated and brazen, especially as the internet of Things continues to add millions of connected and open sensors and devices.
Gartner forecasting some 20.4 billion connected ‘things’ deployed by 2020, and more than 25% of identified attacks in enterprises will involve IoT devices.
And now, as physical security increasingly resides on the IT or cloud infrastructure instead of being segmented on its own network or VPN, it only magnifies the fact that care and planning needs to be taken before a security project gets underway.
What’s the point of building out Smart Cities if they aren’t protected from insider and outsider threats from the ground up? Fortifying physical security and connected solutions properly rests on the shoulders of security project designers and installers—and end-users depend on you as a trusted advisor who can lend the proper expertise—upfront and proactively.
When you are building out a security system—in every vertical market and customer—you need to make certain customer’s networks and the data running on it is secure. Unfortunately, many devices are not built with security in mind, so it’s up to you to include the proper safeguards—from the beginning and throughout the execution of the system solution from concept to final commissioning and daily use.
Securithings can help. Our guiding philosophy is to provide cybersecurity to connected devices initially and ongoing—addressing new threats before they evolve and become a real problem to your customer’s network. Securithings’ real-time behavioral analytics identify and mitigate threats for loT, surveillance and every network-connected solution. Contact us today to find out more.