5 Infamous IoT Attacks – How To Stay Protected?

Cyber-security as we know it has changed courtesy of IoT or Internet of Things botnets.

An IoT botnet is a group of devices, appliances and computers connected to the internet that have been coordinated to launch a cyber-attack. These attacks could be very fatal.

Almost every device that can be connected to the internet is an IoT device. Our reliance on the internet is increasing every day.

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This increased reliance on the internet comes with an increased chance of these IoT devices being hacked, and used by nefarious people as part of a botnet for cyber attacks.

According to the reports from Gartner, by the end of this year, there will be 20 billion IoT devices in use.

This means that about 3 IoT devices exist for every human. By 2025, the number of IoT devices in use is expected to grow to 75 billion.

With the high demand for IoT analytics services, this number is only going to grow. If the cybersecurity of these devices isn’t taken seriously, there will be more hacks and botnet attacks.

In the past, some sci-fi movies have depicted everyday appliances acting on their own and turning against humans. Unfortunately, this is now a reality. There have been some botnet attacks in the past. Here are some infamous IoT hacks and attacks you should know about.

Keep reading until the end, as I have also mentioned how to stay protected from these attacks.

The Jeep SUV Attack

In 2015, some researchers from IBM discovered that they could access the internal software of a Jeep SUV and take advantage of a vulnerability in the firmware update feature of the software.

These researchers were able to gain control of the vehicle, turn the steering, accelerate it, decelerate it and move the car to any direction they wanted.

There is a need to ensure that vehicles are safer, as more driverless electric cars are made available for public purchase.

Some electric vehicles like Tesla offer improved features through software updates and car manufacturers need to protect users of these cars from cyberattacks.

TRENDnet Webcam Hack

The SecurView cameras sold by TRENDnet were supposed to be good security cameras that could also be used as baby monitors and for other purposes.

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They were also expected to be secure and safe from cyberattacks.

Later, it was discovered that the SecurView cameras could be hacked by anyone who could find the IP address of the devices.

Some hackers were able to capture audio recordings from the cameras.

Later it was discovered that TRENDnet was transmitting the login of users over the internet without encrypting them. So, anyone that could intercept the package would get the users login details easily.

If a supposedly secured device that was used in several homes was prone to cyberattacks, it means that nothing is 100% safe.

Some supposedly safe devices could be revealing your personal data without you knowing. To prevent things like this from occurring, you should run a penetration test. 

You should also install a VPN on your home router. A VPN will encrypt your internet communications. This will make it extremely difficult for hackers to access or read them.

The Finland Thermostat Attacks

In 2016, some internet-connected thermostats in Finland came under attack from some hackers. These hackers gained access to the environmental control systems of two apartment buildings and set the thermostat to freeze the residents.

When authorities tried to fight off the attack by rebooting the environmental systems, the systems became stuck in a continuous loop that lasted for almost two weeks.

Freezing cool Isn’t it?

The Mandalay Bay Casino Aquarium Attack

This casino attack is weird and stranger than other casino attacks that you’ve ever seen or heard of.

A lot of casinos are highly secure with a lot of security staff on the ground. Some hackers decided to think differently and they gained access to the casino through a thermometer located inside an aquarium in the casino’s lobby.

This is some Ocean’s 12 stuff.

After the hackers gained access to the casino’s network, they found the casino’s high-roller database and extracted it through the thermostat.

This compromised the personal data of several people and affected the casino.

The Office Printer Attack

It is when your office network printer is hacked by an outsider.

A lot of people fear using the office printer for several reasons. One, you risk allowing a coworker to see some private documents that are not meant to be seen by him/her.

Also, you might be queried for using more paper and colored ink/toner than you should. But there is something worse than all that.

Printers? Seriously?

Some printers that are password protected could even reveal personnel passwords to hackers. As you can see, this is more fatal than other printer-related dangers.

Yes, these outsiders could gain access to the printer memory and view office contracts, personnel information, client information, deal sheets, and other sensitive, private corporate data.

How to Stay Protected?

Here are the most sensitive areas that organizations need to pay attention to in the future:

More and more IoT devices are used every year. These devices have found various applications in the healthcare, automobile, food, fashion and entertainment industries.

More companies are developing and rolling out IoT devices for consumers. From the workplace, people can now use their smartphones to access their refrigerators, ovens, indoor and outdoor lights, heaters, TV sets and more.

All these make IoT testing more important than ever.

The Need for IoT Testing

IoT testing is more than physical interaction. It also involves emotional and sensory interactions.

Digital devices now respond to voice, motion and touch controls rather than keystrokes alone. Human experience testing is a fundamental aspect of IoT testing.

IoT testing involves testing all IoT devices for different combinations of operating systems and software.

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There will be a need to use simulators and emulators to test such products thoroughly. Test-Labs will be needed to test these IoT devices well.

IoT testing should be all-encompassing. Every aspect concerning the production of an IoT device should be tested and verified before they are released to the public for consumption.

If the testing is not thorough enough, there could be a lot of irreversible damage.

Author: Pradeep Parthiban
Pradeep is a Content Writer and Digital Marketing Specialist at Indium Software with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry.