This holiday season promises to be full of devices, apps, and connectivity. Planning and executing appropriate security precautions now will save your business from a serious breach later.
Every year new toys, games, and devices come out with increasing levels of Internet connectivity. Some of these lack fundamental security precautions and end up on the most Hackable holiday gift list. After the holidays, some of these devices will end up in the office, used by employees for their work as part of your BYOD (BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE) policy, or brought in to share, show off, and play with. In addition to providing entertainment for the office, they also present risks to your data and systems.
The vast majority of people start using their new devices soon after they open them. However, fewer than half follow appropriate security measures such as changing default configurations and passwords, installing critical updates, or adding security software. Here’s a look at this year’s most hackable holiday gifts.
Bring Your Own Device
Laptops, tablets, and smart phones top the list of this year’s hackable gifts, and more than 50% of consumers surveyed by Intel Security plan to purchase at least one of these devices. While readily hackable in their default form, most organizations are well protected against threats from these devices, blocking them from the corporate network or quarantining them on an isolated network segment unless they meet the corporate security standard.
Media players and streaming sticks are becoming popular and will likely make it into the office as people use them to stream music, watch TV shows, or use them to easily connect their devices to corporate monitors. Employees will connect them to the office Wi-Fi network, not realizing the potential risk of an unsecured device or the vulnerabilities of older, unpatched software. Again, blocking access to unauthorized devices or restricting them to an isolated network segment is the best defense.
Controlling things around the house, from thermostats to door locks, is another growing market that may not show up on your risk assessment. However, these devices are connected to the Internet through home routers and may provide attackers with a path into your company when employees work from home. Hackers and security researchers have already demonstrated that they can compromise some of these devices. In addition, employees will be checking on their smart home devices from the office, frequently visiting third-party websites and using smartphone apps with uncertain security profiles. Completely blocking access to these tools will likely cause a backlash from employees. Web gateways, data loss prevention, and network traffic analysis will be necessary to detect and prevent breaches, data filtration, or credential theft from compromised home automation sites.