DDoS attacks have almost doubled in the last six months, reaching an average of 237 per month, according to new research from Corero. One of the main reasons behind this huge leap in attacks is the increasing number of easy-to-hijack, unsecured ‘smart’ devices which can be recruited into DDoS botnets. And this problem is only getting worse – especially considering all the consumer tech products now being purchased as Christmas presents and how they could soon become prime targets for hacker infiltration and takeover.
Aside from the personal privacy and security concerns resulting from unsecured Internet of Things devices, another serious danger is the ease with which hackers can harness them for a variety of nefarious purposes, including being recruited into botnets and used in DDoS attacks. Indeed, unsecured IoT devices have powered some of the biggest DDoS attacks against online platforms in the last few years and thus, organizations of all sizes need to ensure their devices, data and networks are safe.
The evolution of botnets
Botnets have transformed the DDoS landscape. Smart devices are essentially a gateway for cybercriminals into their target’s networks, making them more vulnerable to cyber threats and compromises. One of the biggest and most dangerous IoT-related cyber-attacks in the last few years was the Mirai botnet, which enslaved tens of thousands of poorly protected internet devices into bots used for launching DDoS attacks. Looking forward, the continuing proliferation of unsecured smart devices means there will be no limit to the potential size and scale of future botnet-driven DDoS attacks. By using amplification techniques with the millions of devices currently accessible, such as security cameras, DDoS attacks are set to become even more colossal in scale. Terabit-class attacks with the ability to ‘break the Internet’ – or at least clog it in certain regions – are a reality. Attacks of this size can take virtually any organization offline, and anyone with an online presence must be prepared to defend against them.