By Ryan McGee, Head of Security Solutions at Vox
Capitalising on the anxieties and fears caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the past several months have seen cybercriminals increasingly target home networks to steal personal data. International research shows that there has been a 350% increase in the number of phishing attacks from January to March, the period most countries started entering lockdown conditions.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was predicted that cybercrime would cost the world more than $6 trillion annually by 2021. Given recent developments, this is likely to increase even further. Parents have been working from home and their children attended online classes with many schools embracing e-learning offerings.
But with all family members now relying on connectivity from home to do everything from working, online shopping, gaming, watching movies, going to virtual classes, and so on, they are also opening themselves up to more sophisticated cyberattacks that can significantly compromise their personal information.
Even Microsoft has warned that ransomware attacks have started becoming more widespread as hackers look to monetise their attacks at a time when they can make the most financial gain. No industry has been immune, but it has been especially home users who have suffered the most. This should hardly come as a surprise as many people think that their anti-virus provide equally effective protection.
The reality is quite different. With so many connected devices (just think how many devices you have connecting to your home network), each one signifies a potential weak point in the chain. It only takes one compromise to impact the entire environment. This enables hackers to install malware on any of the devices at home. And when a laptop or smartphone is used to access the corporate network, the malicious users can more easily steal usernames and passwords to breach business systems.
This is where a total approach to cyber security for the home environment becomes critical. It is no longer good enough just to safeguard the work laptop. Today, every single home device needs to be protected whether it is the smart TV in the living room all the way through to the tablets and other devices children use to go online. A solution such as the Kaspersky Total Security suite becomes critical to deliver multi-device family security.
An effective cyber security solution such as this can still deliver antivirus features but extends its scope to protect passwords, provide Webcam security, detect ransomware, offer a user-friendly way to set up a virtual private network, and numerous other things. And unlike the traditional way of doing this that requires a software (or hardware) solution to be installed for every aspect of this, total security means this can be done from one system with multiple licences to support all the devices on the home network.
And because this is a software-driven environment, home users can easily set up and maintain their own cyber security without having to struggle setting up complicated hardware and other infrastructure solutions. A total security offering can be applied to multiple devices irrespective of whether they run Windows, Mac OS, or Android. It is centred on providing the entire family with the most sophisticated protection in as user friendly a way as possible.
Protecting the family
For example, using a total security solution, a person can lock, locate, and reset a missing Android phone. Advanced parental control features ensure parents can block access with content filters, limit the use of devices, monitor their children’s social media activity, and even ring fence their physical location using their devices that show real-time alerts if they move out of that zone. For example, with schools reopening for some of the grades, a parent can easily ring-fence their child to the school from 08:00 to 14:00 and receive an alert if they leave the school property without their knowledge.
Furthermore, you can monitor all online activities of all the users on the home network. Whether that is online shopping or banking, a total security solution can proactively check whether a user is connecting to a legitimate site before submitting their credit card details.
Of course, this protection not only extends to financial sites. When the lockdown started, there were over 700 fake Netflix sites scanning for credit card details. It is therefore imperative to check the authenticity of every site a person visits especially when personal information must be submitted.
Such has the significance been of cyberattacks focused on home networks, that 12.1% of South African systems have been infected by some form of malware in May alone. So, even though these are strange times, the new normal will continue to require a more effective way of protecting personal devices and home networks.
Fundamentally, a total security solution such as the one provided by Kaspersky (available from Vox) is one of the most effective ways of doing so to ensure your loved ones remain safe in the digital world.