The Internet of Things or IoT refers to the vast network of connected devices or “things” connected to the Internet which can be used to exchange and collect data. IoT devices include anything smartphones, smart appliances, healthcare devices, traffic monitoring cameras etc.
Much like anything these days, even IoT can come under attack by those who know how to harness its potential for malice. So it perhaps didn’t come as any big surprise that back in October 2016, Mirai (Japanese for “the future”), a malware surfaced attacking IoT devices such as IP cameras and home routers turning them into “bots”.
The hackers then used the IoT botnet to launch a catastrophic DDOS attack on a popular security blog called KrebsOnSecurity. The attack at that time was one of the largest recorded DDOS attacks in the Internet history (620GBps in size). The source code for Mirai written in C was then later released on GitHub.
But last Friday, a new botnet called Reaper or IoT Troop surfaced and has already affected at least a million networks and is considered more dangerous than the Mirai.
Its only up to one’s worse imagination that if Miraii could launch a DDOS attack of close to 620GBps in size, what Reaper could do with a million networks already as part of its botnet.
Researchers at Checkpoint claim using propagation attack where instead of sending a malicious code to every device, the hackers behind Reaper are using the compromised devices to spread the code to other devices.
Checkpoint estimates millions of organizations affected worldwide including US and Australia and the numbers increasing.Attacks found originating from different devices, countries and 60% from corporate networks according to ThreatCloud network.
As with any new technology, IoT promises to be the future of the Internet, bringing better connectivity and ease of use of the devices we use, but as these two botnet attacks show, an equal amount of stress must be placed on security.