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August 8th – Sydney – A recent report from internet security vendors Avast has revealed that, while commonly-found home devices such as printers and security cameras are frequently exposing home networks to cyber risk, game consoles are at the opposite end of the spectrum, posing a much lower risk.
The research, which was conducted using the Avast Wifi Inspector, revealed that 35.8 percent of printers in Australian homes were exposed to cyber attacks due to weak credentials and lack of security updates, but only 0.5 percent of game consoles had the same issue.
Luis Corrons, security evangelist at Avast, suggests that: “Game consoles are pretty much closed systems. They can only run programs that are pre-approved by the game console vendor, and their business model relies on that, since they earn money for every game that is sold no matter who the developer might be. Therefore these vendors take security very seriously, so as to avoid running unauthorised code.”
As the game console has evolved over time, games themselves have become much more interactive and come to rely on internet connectivity for multi-user game play, buying additional games and value packs, online chatting, downloadable content and game demos.
“Nowadays most game consoles are connected to the Internet as users want to play online, and that allows them to get updated automatically, without users needing to consider updating or patching their device manually. Therefore, most game consoles are in a state where they are always running the latest software, are fully updated and not exposed to vulnerabilities,” said Corrons.
Printers on the other hand are connected to the home network. People do not pay much attention to them, except when they need to print documents. Since this action is performed from their PC or laptop, there is very little direct interaction with the printer, which generally stays ‘out of sight, out of mind’ so long as it is working properly.
Updates to a printer, or other networked device such as Network Attached Storage (NAS) or security cameras, generally need to be performed from a computer, and are usually not configured to happen automatically.
“We know that when an update relies on the final user, it often won’t happen. Also, computers are the most targeted devices, and most of the attacks that we see on printers will come from a compromised computer,” said Corrons.
A link to the full report can be found here:
The data in this document has been obtained from scans run by Avast users from their computers, using the Avast Wi-Fi Inspector during September 2018. In total, 16 million different home networks worldwide are included in this study, from countries all around the world. 56 million individual devices were scanned globally, including 117,773 in Australia. The report focuses on the emerging connected devices, as opposed to computers, routers, and smartphones.
Avast (LSE: AVST) is the global leader in digital security products. With over 400 million users online, Avast offers products under the Avast and AVG brands that protect people from threats on the internet and the evolving IoT threat landscape. The company’s threat detection network is among the most advanced in the world, using machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to detect and stop threats in real time. Avast digital security products for Mobile, PC or Mac are top-ranked and certified by VB100, AV-Comparatives, AV-Test, OPSWAT, West Coast Labs and others. Visit: www.avast.com.
Home security cameras – are they actually letting the bad guys in?
A worldwide report conducted by Avast on the vulnerability of home networks has revealed that 40.8 percent have at least one vulnerable connected device, putting the entire smart home at risk of cyber attack. Australia ranks slightly below the global average, with 33.4 percent of connected devices deemed to be at risk.
Of those at risk, the very device that consumers deploy to protect their homes may, in fact, be exposing them to attack. The report, conducted using Avast WiFi Inspector, scanned more than 117,000 Australian home networks and discovered that 11 percent of connected home security cameras are at risk of attack. Looking at the global averages revealed in the report, it appears that 69.2 percent of devices are vulnerable due to weak credentials, and 31.4 percent due to software vulnerabilities.
Excluding major devices such as PCs, smartphones and routers, security cameras rank as the seventh most common connected device found in Australian households, featured in three percent of Aussie homes.
Exploring the fact that nearly seventy percent of cameras are vulnerable due to weak passwords, it becomes apparent that there is either a lack of understanding about cyber defences in the broader community, or that people simply could not be bothered changing passwords – the “it will never happen to me” mentality.
Fred Juhlin from Axis communications, the world’s biggest vendor of surveillance cameras, suggests: “There’s a reason why passwords are also known as “keys”. They are your first line of defence, so you need to make sure they are resilient, frequently changed and that they are not shared liberally. You wouldn’t use the same key for your front door and everything else, from your car to your safety deposit box. Similarly, you wouldn’t make a copy of that key for every acquaintance you meet. That’s the same attitude you need to have when it comes to passwords.”
Australians whose homes feature security cameras as part of their security plan need to be aware of the risks involved, and have a proper defence strategy – just the same as a large organisation needs one, but on a much smaller scale. Relying on cameras to stay safe from cyber attack without human intervention is risky, so they need to be maintained. Large companies have administrators and managers who ‘harden’ the organisation’s defences by regularly changing passwords, adding security patches to software and keeping an audit of each device on the network, but it does not take a whole lot of work to administer the five or six cameras commonly found in the average suburban home.
“It only takes one weak device to let in a bad hacker and once they are on the network, they can access other devices and the personal data they stream or store, including live videos and voice recordings, reports Luis Corrons, Security Evangelist at Avast. “Simple security steps will significantly improve the integrity of digital homes. For example, the setting of strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication for all device access, and ensuring software patches and firmware updates are applied when available.”
As stated above, the second most common ‘entry point’ for cyber attackers is through the device’s own firmware. Every camera has basic software installed, which allows it to operate. The software is often an entry-point for hackers because, once it has been deployed, many consumers think that their security camera is safe and functional for the duration of its lifecycle. However, like any software, a camera’s firmware needs to be updated to keep on top of the constantly evolving cycle of cyber threats. Security patches are generally the first and most important update provided by a camera vendor, and need to be applied at regular intervals to maintain the cyber safety of a camera.
The Avast report reveals the extent of camera vulnerability in Australia – and it does seem that better consumer education and stronger security measures on the vendor side are required in order to stop cyber criminals entering and attacking home networks.
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Foxtel continues channel refresh in December with launch of FOX SLEUTH and FOX SCI FI
Foxtel today announced a further step in its major refresh of Entertainment and Movies channels with the December 17 launch of two new FOX-branded Entertainment channels – FOX SLEUTH and FOX SCI FI.
The announcement of the new, exclusive to Foxtel channels was made at tonight’s red-carpet event to mark the premiere of Foxtel’s new Entertainment and Movies line-up attended by Hollywood superstar John Travolta together with Australian actors Liana Cornell star of Britannia and David Berry from Outlander.
The announcement of the two new Foxtel channels follows today’s joint announcement with NBCU of a new multi-year content agreement which includes key scripted content for Foxtel’s suite of FOX-branded channels.
FOX SLEUTH and FOX SCI FI add to Foxtel’s seven new and existing FOX-branded entertainment channels: FOX ONE, FOX FUNNY, FOX H!TS and FOX CRIME which aired for the first time today, as well as established favourites FOX SHOWCASE, FOX8 and FOX CLASSICS.
Foxtel Executive Director Television Brian Walsh said: “The launch of the FOX SLEUTH and FOX SCI FI channels in December completes a major refresh of our Entertainment and Movies line-up providing Foxtel viewers with the best of TV and on demand for summer.
“The all-new line-up creates a distinct group of channel propositions and personalities that make Foxtel more accessible for viewers and provide us with more supplier flexibility to bring the world’s best content to our customers. They also strengthen our long association with the FOX television brand and confirm Foxtel as the brand’s exclusive home in Australia.
“FOX SLEUTH will be the home of the classic whodunnit, appealing to the armchair detective in us all. The channel will feature authentic, sometimes playful characters such as Vera’s DCI Vera Stanhope played by Brenda Blethyn and Poirot starring David Suchet, all much loved by murder mystery fans particularly women.
“FOX SCI FI provides the best in science fiction and supernatural TV and is designed to appeal to the entire family with strong characters and storylines driving the mysterious, cheeky personality of the channel.
Foxtel’s refreshed line-up also extends to Foxtel Movies channels with 11 dedicated movie channels including a new family movie channel Foxtel Movies Kids, Foxtel Movies Ultra HD channel and over 1,000 movies which will continue to be available to stream on demand.
To mark John Travolta’s appearance to launch Foxtel’s new Movies line up tonight, Foxtel will also feature a John Travolta pop-up movie channel over three next three days to watch live or on demand all the Hollywood star’s most loved movies including Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Pulp Fiction, Face/Off, Primary Colors and The Taking of Pelham, 1, 2, 3.
Foxtel and NBCUniversal Global Distribution & International (NBCU) today announced they have completed a new, multi-year agreement covering movies, drama, comedy, entertainment, reality and news for the Foxtel Group’s broadcast, on demand and streaming platforms.
The agreement includes premiere Australian subscription rights for movies from Universal Pictures and a significantly expanded range of titles from the studio’s rich library of blockbusters and evergreen classics. This further strengthens Foxtel Movies’ extensive line-up including hit films from The Fast and the Furious, Jurassic, Bourne and Jaws franchises, in addition to DreamWorks Animation titles.
Foxtel will continue to reimagine its channel offering with NBCU’s highly popular channels – Universal TV, E! and business news channel CNBC. Universal TV will join Foxtel’s new FOX Crime channel in providing an extraordinary line up of crime and procedural drama including multiple series in the Law & Order and Chicago franchises. Together with E! and Foxtel’s ARENA, Foxtel’s position will be cemented as the number one destination for reality and Hollywood news with hugely popular franchises such as E!’s Keeping Up with the Kardashians and The Real Housewives from Bravo.
The new agreement will also see NBCU continue as a major provider of scripted content for Foxtel’s expanded line-up of FOX-branded channels and on demand platforms. This includes complete seasons of some of the most popular sitcoms for FOX Funny and FOX Hits including The Office, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation. The deal also brings Foxtel first run rights to US blockbuster series Chicago P.D. which will premiere on FOX One on November 15.
NBCU will also provide thousands of additional hours of on demand content including movies and both Bravo’s popular reality series and scripted box sets, initially available through the New Foxtel Experience on iQ3s and iQ4s and through Foxtel NOW. These will be joined by season five of locally commissioned hit reality series The Real Housewives of Melbourne, currently in pre-production with NBCU International Studios’ Matchbox Pictures and due on Foxtel screens exclusively in Australia next year.
Foxtel Chief Commercial Officer Amanda Laing said: “Foxtel and NBCU have a long and shared history of bringing iconic and ground-breaking entertainment to Australian audiences.
“We are incredibly pleased to extend that partnership with this new cornerstone agreement covering movies, scripted content and NBCU channels in a new agreement that reflects Foxtel’s commitment to building strong partnerships with the best content creators in the world.
“This broad, multi-year deal continues to deliver Foxtel subscribers NBCU’s amazing range of top-quality films and series, along with our compelling channel brands,” commented Chris Taylor, Managing Director, Distribution & Networks, ANZ, NBCUniversal. “We look forward to an on-going collaboration with Foxtel as we continue our long-standing, successful partnership.”
Ms Laing added: “Our new deal with NBCU is another step to ensure Foxtel is future fit to deliver on our promise to provide customers with the best of TV and on demand all in one place, at the best value.”