Rise of ‘IOT zombies’
Cyberattacks on IoT devices are becoming more intelligent and sophisticated than ever. These attacks no longer remain at the simple level of hacking IoT devices but have led to the emergence of malicious IoT viruses that paralyze entire networks and turn them into “zombie PCs.”
Talos, a threat intelligence team at Cisco, recently said it confirmed a malicious code named VPN (Virtual Private Network) Filters had infected more than 500,000 routers and NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices in 54 countries. Talos also disclosed 16 types of home routers sold by Linksys, Microtik and Netgear had been infected. F5, another device maker, said telnet’s brute force attacks on IoT devices increased 249 percent in 2017 compared with the previous year.
IoT zombies have sent out shockwaves by attacking many networks simultaneously, causing severe functional problems. Experts warn against social unrest, as hackers could paralyze specific sites and neutralize networks using infected zombie devices.
These new attacks are on another level compared to old ones, which remained content with hacking the IoT to cause malfunctions or cut off specific functions.
The cybersecurity industry has long cautioned against the sophistication of IoT cyberattacks. Most device makers are even failing to identify their weaknesses concerning IoT security. Nor has the government done more than work out guidelines and advising the industry to follow them.
Only thorough preparations can prevent a massive hacking disaster. Businesses should raise security awareness of employees and go all out to secure related technology. Government officials, too, ought to hurry to set up a comprehensive policy on IoT security. In this world of networks, one can never overemphasize the importance of cybersecurity.