There is a remarkable search engine out there, that you’ve probably never heard of. It can’t find you the latest movie times or news of the day or other typical things you’d look for using Google or Yahoo! or Bing.
Instead, search engine Shodan finds equipment that is connected to the Internet. And it makes cyber criminals’ jobs a lot easier. It was dubbed by CNN as the “scariest search engine on the Internet,” and with good reason. It enables hackers to quickly find devices such as your wireless printer, laptop (and its webcam), and even your home security system. Hackers can also locate computer equipment at your company.
If you find that unnerving, it gets worse. On a larger scale, Shodan is capable of finding potential access to infrastructure equipment like traffic lights, HVAC systems, and even controls at power plants.
But just because Shodan can track down equipment that is connected to the Internet, that does not mean that a hacker can necessarily command it. If the device is sufficiently password protected, then it is much less likely to be compromised, though it is still theoretically possible in some cases to do so.
The problem comes when the Internet-facing device in question is not adequately secured. For example, maybe your home router never got configured for strong security, and the user login and password remain the manufacturer’s default. If this is the case, it is easy for a hacker to break in. And sometimes, there is no security in place at all, so a hacker merely needs to find a device to take it over.
According to Threatpost, one reason for lax safeguards at the larger, public level is that sometimes engineers and operators who control the infrastructure-type equipment think that it is excessively hard to figure out a particular security protocol in place, when in reality this is not the case. In fact, some experts have described the security of one industrial control system, called SCADA, as “laughable.”
While you’re basically powerless to safeguard the electrical grid or the water supply from cyber attacks, you can take steps to shore up security at your house and business. For example, be sure you have strong passwords for all your Internet-facing equipment. And don’t use the same password for every device.
However, even the most robust security measures can be, and have been, cracked. So be vigilant and take the threat of a cyber attack seriously, but understand that you’re never completely immune from a cyber attack.
And because these attacks can be particularly disruptive to your company and flow of income, consider the need to insure against the possibility of a cyber breach.
We at INSUREtrust have been cyber liability insurance experts for over 15 years, and every day we help large and small businesses obtain the right policies for their particular needs.
Internet insurance doesn’t have to be expensive, but it is money well spent. The premium cost for a cyber insurance policy can be as little as $1000 for a $1 million policy limit.
Over the past ten years, INSUREtrust has written more than $100 million in premiums and paid more than $30 million in claims. Insurers are looking for business and we can find competitive pricing and terms for almost any risk.