The world is taking advantage of the many benefits that the Internet of Things has to offer. However, along with these benefits comes the great threat of DDoS attacks and data breaches.
What Is DDoS?
DDoS refers to Distributed Denial of Service, and this type of cyber attack is meant to compromise an online service by overwhelming the server through multiple sources. Such attacks are not new, and certain events last year demonstrate just how serious these threats can be.
Krebs DDoS Attack
In September 2016, journalist Brian Krebs suffered a DDoS attack that lost him his anti-DDoS protection after Krebs published a detailed article about vDos, a DDoS service allegedly responsible for a number of attacks.
Hours after the publication of the article, Krebs' site was aggressively attacked, which led to his free anti-DDoS provider Akamai to forfeit its service.
A very similar attack happened to Dyn just a month after Krebs', which crippled sites such as PayPal, Reddit, and Spotify, by using DVRs, webcams, security cameras, baby monitors, and other devices with internet connectivity.
What's scary about the attack on Krebs and Dyn wasn't just the aggressiveness of the attack, but the fact that it can be traced to webcams, routers, home gadgets, and other IoT devices. Such devices are not just easy to obtain and manipulate. They are also difficult to monitor and control as they are rarely protected.
DDoS Attacks In 2017
It is predicted that in 2017, 500,000 IoT devices will be compromised by a DDoS attack. Any individual or business that relies on these devices are not safe from such attacks. The prospect of being able to shut down, say a website just like Krebs' site, just because a group of individuals disagrees with what is being said is scary enough, but what makes DDoS a more serious matter is the possibility of an attacker to use this advantage to compromise your IoT devices and earn money.
An analysis of the DDoS attacks in 2016 reveals the highest number of total DDoS attacks last year at 34 percent originated from China. This number is closely followed by the United States at 26 percent. Other countries such as Russia and Germany trail China and the United States, though at a distant 9 percent and 6 percent respectively.
Although security experts expect cyber criminals to improve their attacks, the usage of IoT devices continues to grow. Experts suggest staying protected from DDoS attacks such as checking the security features of an IoT device before purchasing, using wired connections if possible, using strong passwords and regularly checking manufacturer websites for any software upgrades.