The Internet of Things as a Launch Pad for Cyber Attacks

A malware released online at the beginning of the month has been targeting devices on the Internet of Things, turning them into a launch pad for further cyber attacks. With 500,000 devices already infected around the globe, the spread of malware known as Mirai—which allows devices like fridges, home security systems, and cars to be used for large scale distributed denial of service attacks—is growing and appears to be unstoppable. Mirai spreads by scanning for devices with basic or default username and password combinations and then brute forces its way inside the system.
The Cipher Take: With the malicious code of Mirai now available in full online, it is likely hackers will modify it to their needs, leading to a proliferation of more targeted breaches for devices connected through the Internet of Things. Mirai itself is the successor of a similar malicious piece of code called Bashlite, and the two have often been detected on the same devices. By commandeering everyday devices, hackers are able to stage disruptive attacks by flooding servers with artificial traffic until they crash. Using various devices not only amplifies disruptive attacks, but also conceals the source behind layers of misdirection, making attribution difficult.


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