Senior Malicious Detection Researcher at zvelo discusses the Rise of IoT botnet attacks and how to mitigate the threat they pose.
Eric Watkins, Senior Malicious Detection Researcher at zvelo contributes an article in On Internet of Business – Informing IoT and the Connected World
*****The following article appears within On Internet of Business – Informing IoT and the Connected World’s web site and was originally published on January 19, 2017
The meteoric growth of the IoT industry has forced vendors to prioritize impressive top line features and cost efficiency, leaving security as an un-sexy afterthought. This has left countless IoT devices on the market today rife with vulnerabilities: comically weak default passwords, poor patching systems, and the use of telnet, FTP and other services that run a precipitously high risk of data exposure.
Whereas the average IoT device user sees an opportunity to adjust their thermostat from an app without getting out of bed, hackers see a largely unguarded opportunity to introduce malware that locates IoT devices, takes control of them, and turns the scantily-secured devices into mindless soldiers ready to cause mayhem.
Recent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have demonstrated the dangers of a vulnerable IoT ecosystem. In October of 2016, the highly publicized attack on DNS provider Dyn resulted in the unavailability of many major websites and applications most of us would never imagine going offline, including Amazon, Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Dyn’s findings indicate that the attack utilized a botnet comprised of IoT connected devices and may have involved 10 million different IP addresses.
Soon after, another attack using the same botnet attempted to take the entire country of Liberia offline. Each strike delivered 500 Gbps of disruptive data for several minutes, enough to make affected sites unavailable. But this is not an outlier or a one-off issue.
It’s anticipated that the world will tally 200 billion connected devices by 2020 – more than 26 IoT connections for every person on earth. At the pace the IoT is growing, predictions are that future DDoS attacks could reach a magnitude of 10 Tbps, which should be plenty enough to render any targeted site or country unavailable.