Connect new devices to the Internet with caution

Unfortunately, when it comes to connecting to the Internet, just because something is offered for sale doesn't mean it's secure out of the box. When connecting a new product to your home network, you may need to make it safe by changing default passwords or taking other steps to prevent the chance it could be taken over from the outside world.

On October 21, 2016, there was a major cyberattack on a company that provides web address services to some of the most prominent companies on the Internet. For a while, the attack slowed or stopped many services, including Twitter, Amazon and Spotify, as well as some of the web collaboration services the university has contracted with.

The equipment used in the attacks was hijacked from homes and businesses all over the world, and was compromised of “internet of things” devices (such as webcams, smart home devices, wireless routers, and DVRs (digital video recorders).

Because these devices had insecure and publicly available factory-default settings, the attackers could take them over and use them in an orchestrated fashion to damage their target.

This event highlights one of the main points of cyber security awareness. Criminals look for gaps in security occurring between careless manufacturers and unaware consumers.

When you buy a device that connects to your home network or to the Internet, its instructions should provide information about whether it has a default password and how to change it. Taking a few minutes during setup to secure the device will prevent it from being used as a weapon against the web services we all use daily.

Tech training spotlight 

Want to gain the knowledge and skills to administer a System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) site?  In this three-day hands-on course, you will learn day-to-day management tasks, including how to manage software, client health, hardware and software inventory, applications and integration with Intune. You also will learn how to optimize System Center Endpoint Protection, manage compliance and create management queries and reports.  Register now for the Administering Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and Intune - Custom for Cornell IT class scheduled for Dec. 7-9.

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