At a “Home Hacker Lab” event sponsored by Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB), part of Munich Re, and Prescient Solutions, an ethical hacker revealed how cybercriminals work — and what consumers can do to protect themselves.
The October 13 workshop in New York City mounted a remote cyber-attack on an Internet-connected model home inside the American Modern Insurance Group claims training facility in Ohio. The event demonstrated in real time how hackers choose their targets, enter a system, and the harm they can do once they infiltrate a home.
Key takeaways for homeowners included:
- Most attacks happen via traditional means, through home Wi-Fi systems, emails and computer browsers.
- Hackers are quickly finding new entry points through smart Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
- Roughly 80 percent of consumers report using a home network connected to the Internet. One in ten consumers have experienced a cyberattack via their connected home systems.*
The Hacker Lab was presented by HSB, a leading specialty insurer of data and information risks, and Prescient Solutions, a Chicago-based IT outsourcing firm. The lab was designed to help educate and provide home cyber defense ideas for consumers.
“Hackers are exploiting common security flaws and using them to breach home networks, computers, IoT and mobile devices,” said Eric Cernak, vice president and cyber practice leader for Munich Re. “Once cyber criminals have access, they can steal personal and financial information, hold computer files for ransom, and hijack anything from webcams and thermostats to smart TVs.”
Jerry Irvine, chief information officer of Prescient Solutions and member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Cybersecurity Leadership Council, agreed that consumers face a real threat and need to increase safety protections in their home networks and connected devices.
“The good news is that homeowners can take steps to protect themselves from destructive criminal intrusions,” Irvine said. “Understanding what hackers look for and how they premeditate an attack are critical to building up a home defense system. The important thing to remember is that hackers are imperfect and can be disrupted.”
The Home Hacker Lab also featured a risk management discussion with Cernak and Timothy Zeilman, vice president and counsel for HSB. The discussion included insights about ways to prevent a cyber-attack; the financial costs; and what consumers must do if/when they’re hacked.
Source: Hartford Steam Boiler
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