Trend Micro Report: Security of the Internet of Things

Trend Micro has published a report entitled " Trend Micro 2017 1H Smart Home Network Security Summary " containing a list of 10 regions with the largest number of cyber attacks on home routers and indicating the most important factors affecting the level of threat to home appliances.

Attacks on IoT (Internet of Things) devices are now becoming more diverse and complex. Criminals take control of home routers to make attacks on smart home devices. According to a new report, 1.8 million attacks have occurred in the last six months through home routers. Eight percent of this number were outbound attacks, during which hackers gained access to the home device, and then remotely started the malicious software to obtain confidential information (e.g. passwords) or to capture data sent by the devices.

Potential profits for cybercriminals from infecting smart devices are still growing, so we can expect more attacks of this type - especially in the countries listed in the Trend Micro report. According to our data, the number of infected devices that were used to dig bitcoins almost doubled in the last few months. The increase in potential benefits combined with a significant increase in the number of devices make it an ideal area for cybercriminals "- says Andrzej Sawicki, an expert in cyber security at Trend Micro.

The United States, China and the United Kingdom are the countries with the most attacks on smart home devices. About 70% of all incidents detected around the world took place in these countries. Information about detected incidents comes from the Trend Micro home router routers installed around the world:

  • United States: 28%
  • China: 7%
  • United Kingdom: 7%
  • Hong Kong: 5%
  • Canada: 5%
  • Australia: 4%
  • Sweden: 4%
  • Netherlands: 4%
  • Taiwan: 3%
  • Russia: 3%

Inbound and outbound attacks

Criminals attacking home networks distinguish between two main types of attacks: incoming and outgoing. Incoming attacks involve hacking devices in the home network (eg game consoles, routers or smart televisions) from the Internet. Outbound attacks occur when hackers first take control of network devices by means of an incoming attack and then attack other devices from them. The most common targets of incoming attacks are desktops, laptops and IP cameras. The most common outbound attack is DDoS attack (DNS Amplification). Nearly 80% of all attacks on home routers are outbound attacks.

According to Trend Micro, the number of incidents involving the use of criminals by IoT devices for bitcoin digging almost doubled between February and June 2017. It can be expected that the number of such attacks will grow with bitcoin and ethereum currencies.

Factors affecting the threat of smart home appliances

According to Trend Micro, the three factors most affecting the threat of smart home devices are: connecting these devices to unsecured networks for a long time, leaving default passwords and rare hardware replacement and rare updates of their software. For the security of smart home devices, comprehensive security, user knowledge about the need for proper configuration and regular software updates are crucial.

1. Connecting to unsecured networks for a long time: most smart home devices connect to external networks through routers. Many home users neglect the security of routers, and this allows hackers to exploit the vulnerability of devices or home networks and gain control over all home devices. This exposes all family members to private information leaks.

2. Leaving default passwords: home devices, such as routers or webcams, often use the same system, which makes it easier to manage them. Unfortunately, users often leave the default passwords of these devices, allowing hackers easy access.

3. Long life cycle of devices and rare updates of their software: most home appliances, such as computers or smart TVs, are purchased for many years. Device system software is rarely updated. Neglecting device software updates increases the risk of attacks.

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