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Top 10 Cyber Threats to Connected Devices

Find out about the Top 10 cyber threats that are wreaking havoc.

IoT may present lots of benefits to the contemporary lifestyle due to its usability and accessibility, but it also has a huge drawback i.e. security threat. And these IoT cyber threats are not just theoretical. The new age cyber criminals have already paved their way to attack IoT devices. Below are the top ten cyber attacks targeted on the connected devices.

 

1. Distributed DoS Attacks, Botnets, and ThingBots

Security threats for IoTs were first spotted as an alarming concern when Mirai infected approximately 2.5 million IoT devices including printer, routers, and real-time cameras. The attackers used all of the devices infected with Mirai to connect and target a website (Dyn) at the same time, in order to overload the servers and restrict user access to the site. The worst impact of Mirai attack is that it can permanently destroy all the poorly configured IoT devices.

A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack occurs when multiple systems corrupt the bandwidth of a targeted system. Botnets operate remotely by taking control of devices and distributing malware to attack multiple devices. The botnets can be used on a wider scale for various cyber crimes like stealing private information, exploiting banking credentials, misusing consumer data, or sending phishing emails.

A new player, called a ‘thingbot’, is a botnet that incorporates independent connected objects. Botnets as well as thingbots consist of two main characteristics in common.  First, they are internet enabled, and second, they are able to transfer data automatically via a connected network. This makes it difficult for security experts to detect or block the origin of attack.

2. Real-time Recording

Cyber criminals can effortlessly record the user without their consent. Recently, a document by WikiLeaks stated that the spy agency has been tracking various exploits for IoT devices, although they did not share the bugs in order to use the vulnerabilities and secretly record their confidential conversations. The document listed vulnerabilities in iPhones, Androids and smart TVs, among other devices. Thus, it is evident that the cyber criminals can easily exploit IoTs vulnerabilities to play foul with the sensitive data.

3. Malwares & Spam Attacks

Malware and spam attacks are capable of sending more than 300,000 emails per day by using a single device which is internet connected to other devices. It is easy to detect and block the attacks on a single device but when the connected devices are corrupted, it becomes difficult to trace down the infected device and block the origin of the attack.

For instance, if you have at least one smart appliance in your house, it might get infected with malware and spam attack, and start sending 10 emails every day to all of the devices connected to it.

4. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

APTs have a huge potential to launch sophisticated cyber attacks. These type of attacks are even more difficult to trace, remediate, and block. With the advanced technology, the infrastructure of connected devices is getting even more critical and therefore it highlights the security concerns for sensitive areas such as Defense and Security, corporate giants, industrial control systems or any other Internet-connected systems.

For an example, the Stuxnet worm destroyed Iranian nuclear centrifuges.

5. Ransomware Attack

IoT ransomware attackers main objective is to extort huge money from the user by locking the access of the connected devices like desktop, laptop, iPad, or Smartwatch. So eventually, a user ends up paying a ransom amount to unlock and access their own device.

Vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hacking include but are not limited to: locking systems, encrypted files embedded in phishing emails, unsecured programs, poorly secured devices, unsafe online ads, games and free software downloads.  Any of these can be targeted on various connected devices and different operating system like Android, Windows and Linux.

Ransomware can not only encrypt the files on your home or work PC, but it can also travel across your network and encrypt all files stored on network drives. This can ruin the entire IT security of any department, and bring all the operations to a halt.

For instance, if a financial institution or law firm is attacked by ransomware, it may lead to an unwanted and unrecoverable loss of money as well as personal information.

6. Data and Identity Theft

Having so many social media platforms and applications available, it’s not so difficult to find an individual’s personal identifiable information such as full name, contact numbers, or email address. And IoT devices makes it even easier for attackers to access such personal information by invading corporate or home networks.

The more personal details found on the internet about a user, the easier it becomes to launch a sophisticated attack aimed at stealing a user’s identity. Moreover, cyber attackers can easily execute an ‘Identity Theft activity,’ by obtaining your basic personal information using social media platforms, and combining it with the data available on connected devices.

For example, a poorly secured IoT sensor can be easily connected to your home network, which enables attackers to exploit your e-commerce or social media details, and eventually steal your personal data.

7. Home Trespassers

The idea of remotely connecting and making life easy has now opened new doors for trespassers to enter any smart home. Smart wireless homes aren’t safe enough. These homes are well-equipped with smart locks, smart electrical, and smart doors. Thus, it is likely that your home could be attacked by smart hackers using internet connected devices.

Poorly secured smart home systems are more vulnerable to cyber attacks using sophisticated tools and software. It is evidently easy to break into any smart home even from a distance by corrupting the wireless internet of smart locks or smart doors.

8. Child Safety

From kids’ mobile applications to baby monitors, we keep hearing scary stories of kids being victim of cyber attacks. These ‘Digital Kids’ can not only access the devices but they can also download apps. As children are gearing up with smart technology, they also become a soft target for any pervert to cause harm to any child. By installing ChildLock apps you can safeguard your child from becoming a victim of any cyber trap.

9. Connected Cars

The connected vehicles have become smarter, but it has also increased cyber vulnerabilities. Hackers connect to the internet of connected cars, and can take control of your car. They can unexpectedly increase the volume of the radio, move the wipers, or even increase the car temperature to the extent that your car overheats and breaks down. It is an emerging challenge for the automobile industry as cyber criminals are finding new ways to penetrate new vulnerabilities in connected cars.

10. Physical Attacks

Cyber threats in IoTs are much bigger than we think, as damage beyond repair can be caused by attacking an individual physically. One can harm you physically or may put your life in danger using a connected medical device implanted in your body. Although we haven’t come across such instances so far, it may happen in the near future as more medical devices are getting connected.

 

Summary

According to Forrester Research, “Security vulnerabilities are a significant worry for firms deploying IoT solutions – in fact, it’s the top concern of organizations looking at deploying IoT solutions. However, most firms don’t consistently mitigate IoT-specific security threats and business pressures overwhelm technology security concerns.”

With an increasing transparency in a rapidly evolving IoT ecosystem, there is a huge possibility that hackers can misuse the personal data of an individual for some nefarious act. It is quite possible that your personal or business data is being secretly captured and transmitted via connected devices. That’s why security threats for IoTs is becoming such an alarming issue. But don’t let that prevent you from sharing this article on social media using your smartphone.

At QualiTest we provide the customized cyber security testing services, with an added advantage of business assurance. We are the world leader in pure play software testing services having more than 20 years of experience in technology-specific competencies and in industry-specific testing solutions. Our cyber security testing experts will deliver end-to-end mobile, cloud, IoTs and cyber testing services.