Surge of Cyber Attacks on IoT Devices

19 Nov 2019, MOQdigital

Internet of Things

Copy of MOQDIGITAL NOVEMBERA surge of cyber attacks on IoT devices brings with it a stark warning for modern businesses; that their technology might be compromised. Attacks are a matter of ‘if’ and not ‘when’ in a digitally-driven age, and research reveals that the volume of risk is significantly higher than initially thought. 

The Research

F-Secure researchers have noted that attacks on Internet of Things (IoT) devices have increased three-fold in just a few years. The company used honeypots – decoy servers disguised as every day operational hardware – to discover the type and volume of cyber attacks in 2019. For the first time, attacks on honeypots hit the billion mark. The research also revealed that: 

  • The most common ransomware delivery method was via remote desktop protocols (RDPs), accounting for 31% of attacks. 
  • The largest share of attack traffic was 760 million, measured on a Telenet protocol. 
  • Attacks from January to June in 2019 were twelve times higher than the same period in 2018. 
  • 99% of traffic to honeypots was automated, meaning bots, scripts, and malware were designed to attack at scale from multiple connected computing devices. 

These numbers are alarming, especially as the fines associated with GDPR and NDB regulations could cost companies millions on top of the losses related to a breach

Understanding the Surge

A surge of cyber attacks on IoT Devices makes business leaders ask two valuable questions – why is this happening, and what can we do to stop it?

Researchers suggest that the increase in risk is due to an increased number of IoT devices being used around the world. We already know that these devices are vulnerable to attack, usually because of a lack of defence in existing architecture, a lack of updates/delay in patching updates, and inadequate security strategies. Good housekeeping helps reduce risk, but housekeeping has changed in a modern market. F-Source states “every half year it’s a different story, this time it’s the rampant exploitation of IoT devices…” and suggests that targeted threats and crypto mining may follow soon after. 

The questions remain the same, even if the threats evolve. What is happening, and what can be done to reduce its negative impact on modern business?  

Protection is about Prevention

The best way for a business to protect against the surge of cyber attacks on IoT devices is to develop prevention strategies to counter potential and existing threats. The advice F-Source gives to companies is to “know what devices and servers you have and why they are needed. Retire old assets that aren’t necessary.” IoT devices should not be a ‘set and forget’ addition to a Future Workplace. They are valuable assets that are vulnerable to an ever-evolving array of attacks. However, they do not have to be high-risk factors. 

Digital Transformation brought with it The Internet of Things, and security measures associated with a modern market – and the devices used therein. Companies need agile, relevant strategies to understand the devices, tools, and services they have, as well as the ones they might adopt, and the threats associated with them. 

If you are looking to understand the risks of modern cyber threats, or want to ensure that your digital investments are secure, contact MOQdigital. We can help you make the most of a Future Workplace - and thrive securely and effectively in a digitally-driven era.