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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Internet Security For Amateurs

Yes, we're susceptible to malware with all these new connected gadgets!

At our February 2020 general meeting we had a guest speaker who is an internationally regarded expert on Internet security. For the past 20+ years, Hardeep Mehrotara has worked for the military, law enforcement and news organizations. He has co-
authored several books on critical controls and security benchmarks, and has participated in hacking operations to test system security. Best of all, he is also a Ham operator as VA7HKM.

The discussion points from the presentation covered
  • What is cyber security?
  • Importance of cyber security in amateur radio
  • evolving cyber security threats
  • practice basic cyber hygiene
He covered the importance of Ham radio and internet, our modern digital technology, which more and more is connected to the Internet. Many transceivers and their accessories have some type of Internet connection, particularly remotely controlled radios.

Cyber security refers to combination of people, process and technology designed to protect inter-connected networks (e.g. Internet), devices, programs, and data from attack, damage, or inappropriate or unauthorized access. 

Cybersecurity consists of three key pillars:

Importance of cyber security in amateur radio

  • Denial of service on ham radio networks.
  • Hacking of Software defined radios.
  • Malicious control of remote devices.
  • Impact on Internet-Of-Things (IoT) devices.

Threat actors

Evolving cyber threats include

  • Phishing
  • Third party email compromises
  • Ransomware
  • IoT based attacks

Phishing and Third party compromised email. ARRL warned about this to their members with an forwarding address


Also a real threat and you should keep a separate backup as a precaution.

Practicing basic cyber hygiene

  • AVOID OLDER OPERATING SYSTEMS!  For example, Windows 7 is no longer supported.
  • ALL operating systems are at risk, including Mac and Linux
  • Install a reputable anti-virus and firewall
  • Patch your systems regularly
  • Use strong passwords and do not re-use passwords
  • Use multi-factor authentication where possible
  • Encrypt your sensitive information
  • Backup your information
  • Be cautious when you click on links on websites, emails, social media

Cyber Threat Predictions

As technology progresses, so will the threat.

See Hardeep on a news presentation on cyber security threats 

The slides of Hardeep's presentation are at:

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