Smartphones, TVs and watches could be held to ransom by hackers, cyber security chiefs warn

ackers could begin locking smartphones, televisions and even watches, then demanding ransom for users to regain control of their devices, Britain’s cyber security chiefs have warned.
The rise of internet-connected devices gives criminals more opportunity to run cyber extortion and blackmail rackets, says a joint report from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Malicious programs used to lock devices and demand money, known as “ransomware”, are likely to this year be used to target consumer gadgets.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is designed to improve Britain's fight against cyber attacks CREDIT: GETTY
"This data may not be inherently valuable, and might not be sold on criminal forums but the device and data will be sufficiently valuable to the victim that they will be willing to pay for it," the assessment says.
"Ransomware on connected watches, fitness trackers and TVs will present a challenge to manufacturers, and it is not yet known whether customer support will extend to assisting with unlocking devices and providing advice on whether to pay a ransom."
Ciaran Martin, chief executive officer of the NCSC
Ciaran Martin, chief executive officer of the NCSC CREDIT: DOMINIC LIPINSKI/ PA ARCHIVE/PA IMAGES
Analysts have forecast that by 2020 there will be as many as 21 billion connected devices used by businesses and consumers around the world.
The NCSC and NCA's 2016/17 report on the cyber threat to UK business says: "The rise of internet connected devices gives attackers more opportunity."
The assessment says smart devices are still "inherently more difficult" to attack than laptops and desktops, saying that incidents may initially be limited to users who download apps from third-party app stores.
The cyber threat to UK business is "significant and growing", the NCSC says
The cyber threat to UK business is "significant and growing", the NCSC says
Ian Levy, technical director of the NCSC, said the best defences against ransomware were to ensure software on devices was up to date and data was regularly backed up, perhaps to a cloud service.
Users should beware when asked to install new software from sites they do not know or trust.
If they are held to ransom, he said there were different views on whether to pay up, but said users should realise they are paying a criminal.
The NCSC, which is an offshoot of the Government’s GCHQ electronic spy agency, was opened earlier this year amid mounting concern over the potential danger to Britain's industry and infrastructure from online attacks.
The new report says the cyber threat to UK business is "significant and growing".
In three months after the centre was created, there were 188 "high-level" attacks as well as "countless" lower-level incidents.
The report listed attacks on the US Democratic Party, Ukrainian power grid and a Bangladesh bank as evidence that 2016 had been “punctuated by cyber attacks on a scale and boldness not seen before".
Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the NCSC, said: "Cyber attacks will continue to evolve, which is why the public and private sectors must continue to work at pace to deliver real-world outcomes and ground-breaking innovation to reduce the threat to critical services and to deter would-be attackers."

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/14/smartphones-tvs-watches-could-held-ransom-hackers-cyber-security/

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