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Gloucestershire Business News

How can you avoid a cyber-attack like the WhatsApp breach?

It is more important that ever to monitor and protect your mobile from a cyber-attack.

That's the advice from a director of Cheltenham-based cyber security experts TechOP Solutions after the recent security breach on the messaging service WhatsApp.

Simon Leonard is the lead cyber strategist at Charlton Kings-based TechOP and he said that the recent breach, showed just how easy it is for the average person in the street to be targeted.

In the attack last week hackers were able to install surveillance software on phones that meant those who were targeted could have personal information stolen.

"The WhatsApp breach is a great example of how hackers can deploy tools easily and, if desired indiscriminately, to targets," Mr Leonard said.

"This particular threat was targeted to select numbers but its methods can be utilised on a much larger scale, and it was as simple as calling the WhatApp number. It did not need answering.

"The attacker is able to launch code that then allows then to control or manipulate your device.

"The particular group involved in this attack have the ability to collect intimate data and use your webcam to record images."

Once in the hackers can then launch further attacks that could compromise networks at home or in your office.

Mr Leonard said that the fact that mobiles are used in unsecure and public environments make them a prime target and the hackers aren't necessarily interested in who it is they attack.

"In most cases, they are not interested in who they attack. Your data is critical to you and if they can steal it or encrypt it, its of value to you to get it back," he said.

"It's more important than ever to monitor devices and protect them as much as possible.

Not only this, but planning and investing a little in how and where critical data is saved on devices can save much heartache.

"We recommend solutions that can separate and encrypt data and email away from a phones standard memory and storage and advise how and what to use to secure devices.

"We also monitor traffic for our customers to identify any communication from a device that shouldn't be there and stop it.

"Services like this can be hugely beneficial as IT departments are overloaded with daily tasks and technology alone cannot protect against the threat."

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