Malware Can Infect Anything

Malware can infect anything…and we mean anything!

Cars, phones, smart TVs, flash drivescredit card readers at Chipotle, solar panels, oh my!

Malware has infected each of these in 2017, alone.

These are products we use on a daily basis, for energy, transportation, communication, and for payment.  However, they contain personal information like login information, passwords, phone numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.  Your phone is one of the most vulnerable devices you own.  72% of the U.S. population owns a smartphone.  It contains your emails, text messages, phone calls, and contacts.  Online banking is increasing in visibility and becoming more user-friendly, so a lot of banks have apps.  If your phone became infected with malware, the program writer could have access to your personal information and bank account.

In March, 2017, documents revealed the CIA’s ability to hack into our cars, phones, and smart TVs.

This is not unusual, as the CIA protects us and our national security.  The CIA’s ability to do so is unsettling to some in terms of personal property and privacy.  The report stated that anything with a microphone or a camera could be hacked.  Cybersecurity gurus often carry blackout tape when traveling to cover cameras or microphones on TV sets in hotel rooms.  The development of smart TVs has created vulnerabilities where there previously were none.  While these are innovative TVs that essentially act like computers, they leave room for malware to infect and disrupt its designed functions.

Earlier this year, in May, IBM shipped out malware infected USB flash drives.

Once IBM discovered the malware, customers had to wipe and destroy the devices.  There was a file on these infected flash drives that contained malicious code, leaving customers as targets.  Although it was caught in time, IBM claimed responsibility and informed customers of these malicious files.  Most commonly used anti-virus software detected the malware, so the damage was easy to control.  However, this was a lucky circumstance for most.

Another kind of malware infected card readers at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants that search for track data.

Track data often contains cardholders’ names, card numbers, expiration dates, and verification codes – essentially all the information you need to make any card transaction.  Oftentimes, hackers sell the card information and details on the Dark Web, making it more difficult to retrieve.  In late September, Sonic Drive-In restaurants experienced a similar malware attack that may have compromised over 3,600 restaurant locations.

Probably one of the more damaging cyberattacks are those that overtake infrastructure.

Countries all over the world have interconnected power grids in case of an emergency where one country has to rely on the power of another country.  However, hacked and damaged power grids could affect surrounding countries and cause worldly destruction.  Solar panels supply between 30% and 50% of the demand for power, so a cyberattack could affect up to 50% of the national power supply and then affect other countries.

 

These are major malware attacks that could have impacted you or someone you know.

It is important to prepare your information and your systems with protections against the latest malware to secure your sensitive data.  Malware can infect anything, and with the developments of autonomous vehicles, smart home devices, artificial intelligence, and so on, there are new developing technologies that bring new, unsecure vulnerabilities with them.  New devices with new vulnerabilities are easy prey for hackers.  With our existing technology, secure your accounts and your sensitive data.  With the new, developing technology, always research security first and keep your information and your business protected.

It is important to keep up with the trends of cyberattacks and the developing cybersecurity software and equipment.  November is Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience (CISR) Month, so we are hoping to keep you on track with cybersecurity developments and threats to the nation’s critical infrastructure.  Stay with us on Twitter and Facebook!