Q&A

Nick Sav­vides, Se­cu­rity Ad­vo­cate, Nor­ton by Sy­man­tec.

HWM (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - By Alvin Soon

Nick Sav­vides, Nor­ton by Sy­man­tec

What’s so dan­ger­ous about us­ing pub­lic Wi-Fi?

One of the big things is that a bad guy can mon­i­tor all your com­mu­ni­ca­tions. They are look­ing to do things like pass­word theft, user pro­fil­ing, in­jec­tion of mal­ware. The other is a gen­eral on­line is­sue, where you’re con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tored by ad pro­fil­ing net­works that un­der­stand who you are, where you are, and what you’re do­ing.

We know most consumers are con­cerned about this. And a big fo­cus on what we do at Nor­ton is to make it more se­cure for peo­ple to go on­line, with tools like WiFi Pri­vacy that en­crypts in­ter­net traf­fic so no one can ob­serve what you’re do­ing.

You once said that pass­words are crap. Why?

It’s not that the pass­word is in­her­ently bad, it’s the way we han­dle them in the real world. That’s why we need to use two-fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion wher­ever pos­si­ble. Do it even if it gets in your way, be­cause that lit­tle piece of fric­tion is worth a lot when it comes to your se­cu­rity.

Se­cu­rity shouldn’t be fric­tion­less, be­cause if you land in an­other coun­try and use your credit card, you want the credit card com­pany to do some­thing like send you an SMS ask­ing you to con­firm that you’re mak­ing that trans­ac­tion.

What wor­ries you most right now?

Prob­a­bly the num­ber of un-patched An­droid de­vices and the IoT de­vices that peo­ple are buy­ing and shar­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion on. The rea­son I men­tion An­droid specif­i­cally is that a lot of An­droid de­vices will never be up­dated. No one will ever fix them, and they are be­ing ac­tively ex­ploited. We’re see­ing 100,000 in­fec­tions a day on An­droid, and that growth is ex­po­nen­tial com­pared to two years ago.

On the con­nected de­vices — big deal if someone hacks my smart scale, you know? They’ll just know I’m too fat. But I’ve got a teddy bear that I can squeeze a but­ton on and record a mes­sage. My son can record a mes­sage and send it to me. But how is that in­for­ma­tion be­ing se­cured? Where is it go­ing? That’s my big con­cern be­cause a lot of those de­vices are just crap­ware. They’re just not se­cure.

So what do you do when you get a new de­vice?

The first thing I do is en­sure that I do a clean in­stall of the op­er­at­ing sys­tem, and then I en­sure the OS is up to date. That’s the num­ber one thing be­cause that is where most peo­ple will get pulped, if they don’t have up-to-date op­er­at­ing sys­tems. And it doesn’t mat­ter whether it’s a PC or a de­vice like a Wi-Fi fridge, en­sure that you up­date the firmware im­me­di­ately.

One of the in­ter­est­ing stats that came out from our In­ter­net Se­cu­rity Threat Re­port this year is that a con­nected de­vice will take, on av­er­age, two min­utes to be at­tacked once it’s con­nected to the in­ter­net. So it’s also re­ally im­por­tant to change de­fault pass­words and to do that be­fore it’s on­line.

That’s what I would do, and of course, use a very good in­ter­net se­cu­rity prod­uct like Nor­ton Se­cu­rity for mo­bile, or for PC and Mac.

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