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Local digital security company offers tips after latest FBI warnings on cyber threats

NOW: Local digital security company offers tips after latest FBI warnings on cyber threats

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The FBI has released another warning about your internet security. Foreign cyber actors recently compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers worldwide.

According to an alert released Friday, the actors used malware to target small office and home office routers. The malware is able to perform multiple functions, including possible information collection, device exploitation, and blocking network traffic.

The FBI is now encouraging home and small office owners to beef up their security.

"For the everyday home user it's a daunting challenge," said Dustin Balser.

Balser is the Chief Information Security Officer for Qumulus Solutions in South Bend. The company provides digital security for small and medium sized businesses.

Balser says the first thing to do is change the default passwords on all your devices especially routers.

"Everyone in the industry knows what that default password is," said Balser. "Make sure that gets changed."

If not, you’re giving anyone with that password potential access to all your devices.

Wifi enabled Thermostats, door locks and refrigerators may be making your life easier, but its also making it easier for hackers.

"It's putting us at an immense risk," said Balser.

That's why it's important to make sure all those devices are updated with the latest software and security updates.

"Sometimes those happen automatically," said Balser. "Quite often they don't."

Companies like Xfinity and AT&T provide instructions on how to update their routers online.

Balser says, if your router has reached the end of its life and is no longer getting updates you should think about replacing it.

"You potentially have a vulnerable device on your network that could lead to access onto your home network or business network," Balser added.

As for small businesses securing their networks it’s a little bit more complicated.

"They don't have the resources or the expertise and a lot don't know where to begin," said Qumulus President and CEO, Russell Ford.

Ford says, 86 percent of business who are breached are small or medium sized.

"The necessary resources are limited and the costs to employ those resources are cost prohibitive," said Ford.

He's looking to fill the need for those resources by providing a local option for digital security which often times companies have to find out of the area.

"From Michigan City over to Fort Wayne there's very little cyber security presence as it relates to cyber security experts," said Ford.

He says that's something that's going to have to change as the hackers continue to get more sophisticated.

"It's not a question of if you’re going to be hacked -- it's a question of when," said Ford.

"I see it becoming much more -- if anything speeding up," added Balser.

The other problem the industry is facing is finding qualified people to do the work that needs to be done to keep up with the hackers. Right now Qumulus has about 6 employees and they are hoping in the near future to reach fifty, but they need more people entering the field.

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