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Painting a Bullseye on Your NAS

Silviu STAHIE

September 29, 2021

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Painting a Bullseye on Your NAS

While Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices might not have an attractive name, they are popular solutions for consumers looking to have their own cloud at home. That also means that they’re prime targets for attackers. Whenever a new NAS starts, a bullseye suddenly appears online.

The ability to back up your files at home with complete control over the data -- no subscription costs -- sounds like an excellent proposition. These are among the main reasons people choose to have a NAS at home.

Unfortunately, it also means that all that valuable data becomes extremely attractive to attackers. Leaving aside that the number of ransomware attacks against NAS devices is on the rise, there's another problem, equally severe, and the solution is usually in the user's hands.

The weakest link in the chain

An unofficial motto in cybersecurity is that humans represent the weakest links in the cyberattack chain. While that's generally true, another factor rivals the human fault in at least one other category. You've guessed it, NAS devices.

According to Bitdefender's telemetry, NAS machines are the most vulnerable devices in people's homes. This is worrying because the same devices aren’t even among the 10 most-used pieces of IoT hardware. The discrepancy is significant, as NAS accounts for almost 30% of all vulnerable devices identified by Bitdefender security solutions.

Causes and solutions

A key issue is that NAS devices usually require attention during their lifespan. People should immediately install security updates when they arrive, but users tend to forget that they have a NAS that needs attention. The same behavior is true for other IoT devices around the house.

Another reason is that a NAS, like any other hardware, has a set lifetime of support. Just because the support ends, it doesn't mean the device no longer works. So, people have NAS devices hosting private data that have reached end of life, making them prime targets for attackers.

The solution is simple. Always keep your NAS device up to date, don't expose it online unless you have to, and replace it when it reaches end of life.

It's also a good idea to have a smart router running Bitdefender's IoT Security Platform in your home, whether it's a commercial one or from your ISP. It provides valuable information about vulnerable devices in its protected environment, and can stop attacks before they reach your precious NAS and all the data it's guarding.

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