A new cybersecurity threat could take the existing risks to the next level. “Killware” is a new type of malware intended to cause physical harm, and industry experts are warning against its increased dangers.
While regular malware can cause severe damage, its effects don’t entail physical harm. Physical consequences are more challenging to repair than attacks that stay within cyberspace. Over the years, internet users have grown more aware of malware and more likely to use classic defenses against malware, like antiviruses, VPN for Chrome or other browsers, and simple commonsense. But this new type of malware could shake things up.
The basic idea behind killware is to damage or manipulate the device people depend on to cause them harm or even death. The primary targets for killware attacks are places like hospitals, water systems, and medical or fire departments – sites that ensure human livelihood.
We don’t have a definitive answer if you’re wondering why someone would even be interested in doing something like this. But some people just want to cause damage and abuse the power they have through technology.
You may think the debate about killware is still hypothetical, but killware incidents are already happening.
Last year, Florida, USA, became one of the first targets of killware. A threat actor behind the attack tackled a water plant in Oldsmar, Florida. According to news outlets, the hacker wanted to contaminate the water using killware. The effects of this attack could have been catastrophic, but luckily the attack was stopped before the water got contaminated. Yet the attacker still roams free, as he was never caught.
It’s even scarier to think about what this could mean in the context of the increased demand and popularity of home automation. With so many of our devices being connected to the internet and operating under one digital ecosystem, a hacker could also gain access to all other devices if hackers were to infiltrate one device.
For example, they could disable your security alarm and freely enter your house. Hackers can even cause a fire by overloading your system. So killware poses a threat to all of us and our livelihoods. This is why staying ahead of the game and securing your devices and internet connection is essential.
Here are a few steps you can take today to protect yourself from killware.
Get an Antivirus
Antivirus is a tried and true software for preserving, detecting, and most importantly, deleting viruses from a computer. If you want to avoid getting targeted through killware, make sure that you invest in a solid antivirus program so that you will get notified if some suspicious files end up on your computer. As there are so many options for antivirus programs on the market, it’s easy to choose the one that will fit your budget. It’s a good investment.
Invest in a Solid VPN
Another step you can take to prevent killware attacks is getting a VPN. VPNs hide your IP address, making sure that you stay private when you go online. This way, you won’t get targeted for having an exposed IP address, which can be used to find out even more personal details, even one’s personal home address.
Create Secure Passwords
One of the easiest ways for hackers to gain access to your network is by infiltrating one of your accounts. If you are still reusing one of your old passwords or even using it for various accounts, it’s time to change that. Make sure to have dedicated passwords for each account and use secure passwords. Better yet, get a password manager that will take care of all that for you.
We shouldn’t think that the cyber threats that come with killware will disappear. This threat will affect almost everyone, especially those who use home automation and depend heavily on their automated devices. While regular malware remains the primary threat people have to watch out for, killware is far more dangerous and can have much more dire consequences.
To avoid falling victim to one of the killware attacks, use the tips highlighted above to stay safe from malware and secure your devices from outside attacks.