Weaponization of IoT Devices Increased in 2019, NTT Report Shows

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are gaining a more prominent role in cyberattack, becoming a force to be reckoned with, no matter the affected industry, according to NTT’s 2020 Global Threat Intelligence Report.

IoT devices are present at home, in companies, in cars, industrial settings, and anywhere else in between. While they play an invaluable role in our society, they can also be used in cyberattacks after bad actors gain control.

One reason IoT devices are insecure is that companies don’t provide proper support during their lifetimes. Improper default configurations are another reason these devices fall prey to attackers.

“Botnets such as Mirai and Echobot have advanced in automation, improving their propagation capabilities,” states the report. “Primarily aided by attacks leveraging default or hardcoded credentials, Mirai and variants targeted network backbone devices from several different vendors. Mirai and IoTroop are known for spreading through Internet of Things (IoT) attacks, then propagating through scanning and subsequent infection from identified hosts.”

No industry is safe from attacks that harness the power of IoT ecosystems. For example, Technology accounted for 25% of all attacks in 2019, and weaponization of IoT devices is the main reason.

Compromise, propagation, and botnet activity related to IoT devices are also expected to increase with the deployment of 5G networks. In this scenario, the IoT will be the source of attacks and a target at the same time.

As it stands, Bitdefender’s telemetry data shows that an average of two devices in each home are vulnerable to attacks. As such devices become more widely used, that number is sure to increase. Compromised devices become part of botnets, which in turn feed a dangerous and ever-growing vicious circle.

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