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US firm warns against attaching to unknown wi-fi connections

December 08, 2014 13:40 IST

Wi-fiIn the backdrop of massive smartphone penetration in India, a US-based security solutions firm has warned users against attaching to free and unknown wi-fi connections.

"Free and unknown wi-fi connections can compromise your machine or mobile devices," Peter Sparkes, Senior Director of Symantec's Cyber Security Services (Asia Pacific and Japan) said in Sydney recently while listing top do's and dont's of averting a cyber attack.

"It is safer to use corporate wi-fi connections but any unknown connections can be a risk," Parkes said.

"Updating the devices to the latest third party technologies and using security software tools can help reduce the risk of being a target of cyber attacks," Sparkes said.

"Once you are online it means that you are visible," he said, adding that one should have different passwords for different logins of banking or social websites.

Sparkes said as India advances to highest smartphone penetration it would mean that consumers would have increased connectivity across their devices, gadgets and machines leading to potential for a whole new range of security risks.

India's smartphone market is said to have grown by 84 per cent year-on-year and it continues to be the third highest source of overall malicious activity contributing 5.11 per cent to the global cybercrime.

India is also top source of spam zombies emitting close to 1.45 billion spams into cyber space daily.         

The total cost of cybercrime for 2013 stood at $4 billion or India and there were total of 18 million victims in India.

"The year 2013 saw increase in targeted cyber attacks that rose by 91 per cent with major vulnerabilities like targeted attack campaigns, coordinated cyber espionage and potential cyber sabotage, increased Hackivism and cybercrime," Sparkes said, adding that these attacks were growing and becoming smarter and more sophisticated.

Top predictions for 2015 were attacks on the Internet of Things which would focus on smart home automation, growing attacks on mobile devices, prominent data leaks of 2014 to keep cybersecurity in spotlight this year, scammers to continue to run profitable ransom scams and cloud to take to infinity and beyond.

Recently, Symantec also uncovered a new piece of malware Regin, which the company said was bearing the hallmarks of a state-sponsored operation and was believed to have been in use since at least 2008.

"In fact, around 5 per cent of the confirmed infections for this were found in India . . . and it was confirmed that from the company's Internet Security Threat Report launched earlier this year that attacks would become more sophisticated with longer, more targeted attack campaigns.

Representative image

Natasha Chaku in Melbourne
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