The Internet of Things (IoT) and, specifically, the hunt for exploitable IoT devices by attackers, has been a primary area of research for F5 Labs for over a year now—and with good reason. IoT devices are becoming the “cyberweapon delivery system of choice” by today’s botnet-building attackers. And, why not? There are literally billions of them in the world, most of which are readily accessible (via Telnet) and easily hacked (due to lack of security controls). Why would attackers rent expensive resources in hosting environments to build their botnets when so many devices are “free” for the taking?
In our third semi-annual report on this topic, we continue to track Telnet attack activity and, through a series of global maps showing infected systems, we track the progression of Mirai, as well as a new thingbot called Persirai. We also include a list of the administrative credentials attackers most frequently use when launching brute force attacks against IoT devices.
Here are the key findings based on analysis of data collected between January 1 through June 30, 2017:
From a manufacturing and security perspective, the state of IoT devices hasn’t changed, nor did we expect it to. In the short term, IoT devices will continue to be one of the most highly exploitable tools in attackers’ cyber arsenals. We will continue to see massive thingbots being built until IoT manufacturers are forced to secure these devices, recall products, or bow to pressure from buyers who simply refuse to purchase vulnerable devices.
In the meantime, responsible organizations can do their best to protect themselves by having a DDoS strategy in place, ensuring redundancy for critical services, implementing credential stuffing solutions, and continually educating employees about the potential dangers of IoT devices and how to use them safely.
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MODIFIED: Dec 21, 2017