IoT Devices More Prominent Targets for Cyber Attacks in 2016

Media Division | December 30, 2016

The cyberscape has continued to grow and expand more than ever.  Such is the case with the increasing prominence and popularity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.  In 2016, we saw devices being connected to the internet that we would have never thought were possible.  Though, as with all new technology, this raises new security concerns for these types of devices.

Mirai Malware Wreaks Havoc Upon IoT Devices

A type of malware called Mirai can be particularly threatening to IoT devices.  Mirai is a DDoS Trojan that is aimed at Linux systems, and IoT devices particularly.  It has already shown how potentially threatening it can be through a recent attack upon the internet provider Dyn, in which 100,000 Mirai infected bots helped to launch a massive DDoS attack upon Dyn’s DNS infrastructure.  A very damaging component of Mirai is that it spreads itself through various devices to form its own robot network.  The malware initially infects home and computer networks through introduction from phishing emails.

A key factor in the Dyn attack was the large role that IoT devices played.  Unfortunately, these types of devices can be hacked quite easily due to a root password that most users have no idea exists, which allowed these devices to be used to facilitate the attack.  Scott Hilton, EVP of Product at Dyn, said in a statement, “This attack has opened up an important conversation about internet security and volatility. Not only has it highlighted vulnerabilities in the security of “Internet of Things” (IOT) devices that need to be addressed, but it has also sparked further dialogue in the internet infrastructure community about the future of the internet. As we have in the past, we look forward to contributing to that dialogue.”

Moving into 2017 With Greater Defense of IoT Devices

The increasing use of IoT devices makes this type of potential threat more real than ever. In fact, two thirds of American consumers now own a minimum of one connected IoT device according to a recent study from IAB.  This opens a multitude of doors for cyber attackers to exploit.  With Mirai already posing a threat, and the increased amount of individuals using IoT, it is only a matter of time before many more threats are developed to target these types of devices.  With 2016 already displaying the potential for these devices to be exploited, we should move into 2017 ready to fortify and defend these devices from attacks.

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