Consumer IoT faces potentially unmanageable botnet threat

botnets
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The consumer IoT installed base will reach over 15 billion units by 2021, an increase of 120% over 2016. But with embedded connectivity increasingly being used as a product differentiator in the consumer IoT space, the vast scale of this connectivity could lead to an unmanageable cybersecurity risk created by botnets in excess of 1 million units.

That’s according to new data from Juniper Research which found that recent IoT botnets will prove merely to be the tip of the cybersecurity iceberg. Botnets were uncovered as a key factor in the largest DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack ever recorded last year.

The report found that the use of botnets to disrupt Internet services form part of the near-term threat landscape. It predicts that botnets will be used for more malicious purposes in future, impacting consumer, industrial and public services markets.

“Attacks such as those on Dyn last October can be viewed as proof of concepts”, noted research author Steffen Sorrell. “In the medium-term, botnets will be used far more creatively – not only to disrupt services, but also to create a distraction enabling multi-pronged attacks aimed at data theft or physical asset disruption.”

The research called on IoT device manufacturers to ‘take responsibility’ by implementing security-by-design, adding that corporate-scale vendors such as Amazon, Google and Samsung should lead efforts to galvanize other vendors to apply security best-practices.

Additionally, the research found that the market is wide open for challenger cybersecurity vendors. It highlighted providers such as Crossword and Positive Technologies who are using machine learning to disruptively protect against DDoS and malicious network activity. The report predicts that the industry will be forced to move beyond traditional signature-based detection methods in the near-term in order to address IoT cybersecurity effectively.

The whitepaper, IoT ~ Internet of Transformation, is available to download here.

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