Security

Report: IoT attacks exploded by 280% in the first half of 2017

A report from F5 labs showed how IoT devices have been targeted through botnets, many from a single hosting provider. Here are the results, and what they mean for the enterprise.

Billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices are already in use, and they are continuing to proliferate—Gartner estimates that more than 50% of major new business processes and systems will include an IoT component by 2020.

And with increased IoT devices permeating homes and offices, businesses are more vulnerable to risk than ever.

To assess the current state of IoT threats, on Wednesday, F5 Labs released its global IoT threat report—The Hunt for IoT Vol. 3: The Rise of Thingbots—which examined how attackers have developed botnets to target IoT devices.

According to the report, IoT attacks grew 280% from the prior six-month reporting period, with a large chunk of this growth stemming from Mirai—malware that infects IoT devices and turns them into bots.

Moreover, the report claims that 83% of attacks came from a single hosting provider in Spain called SoloGigabit that had a "'bulletproof" reputation.

"We believe this is direct threat actor activity building a Thingbot verses compromised IoT devices unwittingly launching attacks," the report stated. "This raises big questions about who is responsible and how it should be regulated."

And China, formerly no. 1 in IoT attacks, saw a decline in IoT attacks this period. According to the report, only 1% of the total attack volume emerged from this country—which raises the question of what may have happened to compromise IoT systems, the authors of the report noted.

According to the researchers at F5 Labs, "now is the time to act on behalf of your business before another Death Star-sized attack is launched." F5 Labs suggests having a DDoS strategy, to understand that your company is not always a direct target and to plan ahead for downstream impact if your service provider is attacked. Moreover, they suggest that businesses should abstain from buying and selling vulnerable IoT devices, to avoid having them repurposed to attack businesses. And the report also urges thorough research before making IoT purchases.

Want more tips for avoiding IoT attacks on your business's devices? Check out TechRepublic's Teena Maddox's reporting on how the enterprise can protect itself from these types of attacks.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. A new report from F5 Labs shows that IoT attacks grew 280% from a prior six-month reporting period, with a large chunk of this growth stemming from Mirai malware.
  2. A whopping 83% of IoT attacks came from a single hosting provider in Spain called SoloGigabit that had a "'bulletproof" reputation, according to the report.
  3. China, formerly no. 1 in IoT attacks, saw a decline in IoT attacks, accounting for only 1% of the total attack volume.

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Image: iStockphoto/Weedezign

About Hope Reese

Hope Reese is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers the intersection of technology and society, examining the people and ideas that transform how we live today.

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