With cyberattacks on the rise, there are measures that businesses, network operators and individuals can take to protect themselves.
Cybersecurity measures capable of thwarting ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure, like the recent Colonial Pipeline crisis, are widely available to firms interested in securing their networks.
"Customers who got it are dramatically more secure – period," Waterfall Security Solutions CEO and co-founder Lior Frenkel told Fox News Wednesday. "Our technology provides you 100% security against anything getting back in through into the network. It's physically impossible to do that. And this is this is why so many customers are using our system in such sensitive and critical facilities and in critical infrastructure."
The company is named for the geographical feature that flows only one way – making it impossible for malware to penetrate its clients, Frenkel said.
"Water can't go up the waterfall – given there's a physical barrier, which is exactly what we do," he said.
So engineers at a Dallas office could receive live data reports from a plant in Louisiana, but that plant would still be immune to attempts to send malignant information into its computers from the outside, so long as they were protected by Waterfall or one of its competitors.
But that type of technology is just incompatible with most consumer devices, according to Kim Komando, who hosts a radio show focused on cybersecurity and consumer protection.
"These are industrial systems because they work on a closed system," she told FOX Business Thursday. "For consumers, most of their devices need updates from the outside or they send data to cloud dashboards. Limiting its one-way traffic usually doesn’t work."
And basically any consumer product connected to the Internet could be a potential hack target. On top of that, high-powered hacking tools developed by governments around the world have leaked into hackers' hands, and the rise of cryptocurrencies makes payments harder to trace across international borders, increasing the profit motive for criminals, according to Frenkel.
"The big security risk with smart homes is that they can change settings, open garage doors, turn off the alarm, turn off cameras, whatever it may be," she said. "With cars, it’s already been proven that they are hackable and that you can send commands to the car to stop or to go faster."
What more information could a hacker get out of your smart-fridge if they already broke into your cellphone?
Hackers could also use an unsecure appliance to break into a home’s network and steal more useful information – like your Venmo information, according to Komando.
The extent of the risk, Frenkel noted, depends on how device-dependent an individual chooses to be.
Still, there are measures consumers can take to mitigate their exposure, the experts say.
"The big problem is the Internet of Things," Komando said, using a term to describe web-enabled devices collectively.
"All of these connected devices come with default passwords, and the default passwords are readily on the Internet," she said. "Whether it’s a camera, a doorbell, a smart Crockpot, whatever it may be, consumers have to pay attention to security, and they have to make sure that they take the extra steps to set up the security on whatever the device may be."
There’s even a search engine, called Shodan, designed just to look for such devices. And its most popular request Thursday evening was the term "webcam."
Which could be why Frenkel noted users can also take low-tech security measures to protect themselves and their families, like using a smartphone case that covers the camera when not in use.
Komando also recommends deleting accounts on websites you no longer visit, watching for potential scams, and closely guarding your personal information.