Jackware is a type of malicious software that targets computers and IoT devices. Instead of stealing your data or locking your files, jackware controls the device’s functionality.
How jackware works:
- It sneaks into a device through weak spots in the device’s security.
- Once inside, jackware takes over the device’s controls. It could be a smart car’s self-driving functionality or smart home system operations.
- The hacker then demands money, threatening to harm the device or keep control of it until they get paid.
Dangers of jackware:
- Physical harm. If a smart car is hijacked, it could lead to accidents and endanger lives.
- Compromised privacy. Smart home devices like security cameras and voice assistants could spy on individuals.
- Disruption of critical services. In industrial or healthcare settings, hijacking connected machinery or medical devices could cause power outages and disrupt patient care.
How to protect yourself from jackware:
- Keep software updated. Manufacturers often release updates to patch security vulnerabilities.
- Use strong passwords. Set strong, unique passwords for your devices and Wi-Fi. Avoid using default passwords, as they are often easy for attackers to guess.
- Be cautious with unknown links. Don’t click on links or download attachments from unknown or untrustworthy sources.
- Enable two-factor authentication. This adds an extra layer of security beyond just a password.
- Regularly backup data. This won’t prevent a jackware attack, but it can minimize the damage if one occurs.
- Monitor device activity. If you notice anything unusual, it could be a sign of a security issue.
- Use security software. Use reputable security software on your devices to help detect and prevent malicious activities.
- Limit device permissions. The fewer permissions your apps have, the less they can do if they become compromised.
- Disconnect. If you’re not using a smart device, disconnect it from the internet, especially if it doesn’t always need to be online.