The Internet of Things – Alarming Threat

17 August 2016

The fast-paced environment regarding technological advancements has affected our everyday lives by the constant connection to digital devices.  By 2020, it is expected that an astonishing 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet.  The rapid growing network of the Internet of Things (IoT) represents an alarming change in the digital world with effects that pose potential risks for the majority of individuals and businesses.


What’s happening now?

Cyberattacks aren’t new.  What is new is the grand scale of simplistic and ruinous attacks on the Internet of Things.  The main principle of the IoT is connecting an array of technological devices that can be accessed and managed through the Internet.


What does this mean?  All compatible devices such as your smart fridge, smart thermostat and fancy fitness gadgets are imposing a threat on security and privacy by creating entry points for cyber-attackers.


The extent of damage that these attacks cause differ in severity depending on numerous variables such as the type of device, the environment as well as the ability to secure high protection software.

Below is a list of the most common cyberattacks that happen amongst the digitally connected community and how their threats impact on the potential of having a secure Internet of Things network.

Are Botnets a threat?

A Botnet is a combination of ‘highjacked’ devices in a network used to control and distribute malicious spam and malware.  Most commonly, they are used in the hope to steal personal details, exploit online banking information and construct phishing emails.  Why does this impact on the Internet of Things?


The “Smartification” of devices has occurred rapidly, leaving little time to develop the necessary protection required to repel cyberattacks.  The problem occurs when these Internet of Things devices become part of the Botnet, becoming “Thingbots”.


But what happens when this network of devices starts to send spam email?  The main threat here is that it is somewhat difficult for antivirus software to detect a potential cyberattack when emails are being sent through a Botnet from numerous different network devices.  This can leave the recipients at an increased level of risk.


Ultimately this is their aim – to send tens of thousands of varying emails in pursuit of a network crash in order to get access to personal or company information.  Installation of antivirus and antispyware programmes are a trusted source.  It is vitally important to keep all software up to date in conjunction with the with use of strong and complex passwords.

Simplicity of Identity Fraud

The most common components of identity fraud are scarily simplistic.  General access to data that can be found on the internet, as well as information from social media accounts and other documents that portrays information build your online identity.  Obviously, the more details that can be procured through the Internet based on someone’s identity the more devastating the attack can be.  Now the IoT provides a new dimension of information from your Smart Fridge, Thermostats, and data from fitness trackers and devices etc.


Lethargy regarding identity protection through internet connected devices is creating a breadth of easy chances for malignant attackers.  The number of people who are victim to identity fraud in the UK has already risen by a third in 2016.  It is now increasingly important that you are aware of what personal information can be accessed online and the growing need to protect your identity through protection and security software.


This is just the start…


The rise of Social Engineering

Social Engineering is growing in popularity as a way of accessing individual’s confidential information – manipulation at its finest.  In its simplest form, Social Engineering uses existing information about you in order to manipulate people into providing confidential data.


The most common outcome that attackers seek is information regarding passwords and banking information or the ability to access company/personal computers in order to install malicious viruses. The most common strategy that cybercriminals use to access this information is phishing emails which aim to encourage individuals to send confidential information through the use of a legitimate looking website.


Phishing accounts for over 77% of all social based attacks with a massive 37 million people reporting these types of attacks in 2015.


Simple actions can be taken to protect against the threat of social engineering:

–          Always check the recipient of the email

–          Avoid any strange link

–          Never install software from unreliable sources

–          Do not give away any confidential information to strangers


Do you need help with these common cyberattacks?

Here at IntaForensics we offer many options specifically designed to help resolve attacks and support you to improve your cybersecurity.  We are also able to create personalised packages for any unique requirements that your organisation may need.


With this in mind, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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