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Exposed: the Threat Of IoT Botnets In Cybersecurity

By Tom Seest

What Are The Dangers Of IoT Botnets In Cyber Security?

At BestCybersecurityNews, we help entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, young learners, and seniors learn more about cybersecurity.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a rapidly developing industry. It has become a cornerstone in the data-driven revolution and promises to revolutionize every facet of our lives.
Though IoT devices offer many advantages, there is also an increasing risk of cyberattacks. Botnets are one such danger that could negatively impact our businesses and devices alike.

What Are The Dangers Of IoT Botnets In Cyber Security?

What Are The Dangers Of IoT Botnets In Cyber Security?

Can Your Devices Be Hijacked by an IoT Botnet?

An IoT botnet is a collection of malware-infected devices controlled by malicious actors. These networks are frequently employed in DDoS attacks against targeted entities to disrupt their operations and services.
IoT botnets are expanding rapidly, creating a host of new cyber threats for organizations and networks worldwide. They have become an established weapon in the hands of malicious actors looking to launch attacks against companies, governments, and individuals alike.
An IoT botnet typically consists of thousands or millions of slaved devices controlled by command-and-control (C&C) servers located near the victim. These C&C servers direct the botnet’s activities, such as sending out spam messages or launching DDoS attacks against target systems and networks.
Mirai has become one of the most prominent IoT botnets in recent years, having been discovered in 2016 and used to launch some of the largest DDoS attacks to date – it even caused Dyn, the internet’s backbone service, to go offline!
Mirai has grown into a larger family of P2P malware that includes several variants. These include Mozi, Gafgyt, Echobot, and Loli. These variants can perform DDoS attacks, download additional payloads, and spread to other IoT devices in the same network.
While the majority of IoT botnets are focused on delivering DDoS attacks, there is an increasingly sophisticated trend toward malware attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in smart city applications such as health care, power grid, water treatment, and traffic control.
With these sophisticated threats emerging, organizations must implement risk-based security solutions to safeguard their IoT devices and networks. These systems must give full visibility into connected devices that access the organization’s networks, detect malicious activity quickly, and enable effective response.
To safeguard against IoT botnet attacks, it is essential to implement an advanced detection system that can proactively monitor network traffic flows for botnets in real-time. This solution must collect these flows, convert them into connection records and use deep learning (DL) models to detect threats originating from compromised IoT devices.

Can Your Devices Be Hijacked by an IoT Botnet?

Can Your Devices Be Hijacked by an IoT Botnet?

Are Your Devices Being Used as Weapons in IoT Botnets?

Botnets are malware-infected devices that hackers can remotely control to launch attacks against a target or group of targets. They’re commonly used for automated distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, malware distribution, and data theft.
In recent years, botnets have seen explosive growth within the cybersecurity landscape. With the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, attackers now have more tools than ever to use against businesses and individuals alike.
IoT devices are prime targets for botnets due to their often unpatched state and potential security flaws that attackers can exploit to take over the device. Examples include routers, IoT in home automation systems, cameras, and other hardware that is often forgotten by users and doesn’t receive security patches when needed.
Botnets often employ a strategy of infecting as many devices as possible and then exploiting their immense computing power for automated tasks. These could range from sending spam messages to stealing financial information.
Depending on the type of botnet, malware may be programmed to communicate with other devices through various protocols and methods. For instance, Mirai malware utilizes HTTP and IRC for communication.
ZeuS is another botnet malware that targets eCommerce and banking websites to steal user banking account information. Once infected, it can infect a computer’s operating system and web browser and send fraudulent traffic to certain online advertisements, leading to significant financial loss for the victim and costly remediation efforts.
Botnets pose the greatest danger, as they can be used to attack critical services and infrastructure. For instance, in 2016, the Mirai botnet caused widespread outages on the Internet by flooding targeted servers with traffic.
Botnets are a type of cyber warfare that employs hundreds or thousands of infected devices to launch denial-of-service (DoS) attacks against an organization, effectively disrupting service to that entity. This makes botnets an incredibly efficient method for disrupting operations at a targeted organization.

Are Your Devices Being Used as Weapons in IoT Botnets?

Are Your Devices Being Used as Weapons in IoT Botnets?

Who Holds the Power in an IoT Botnet Attack?

C&C (command and control) servers are computers used by threat actors to send instructions to infected hosts. These instructions may include launching DDoS attacks, stealing data, encrypting and destroying files on the compromised host. Furthermore, these servers may also be utilized for logging and tracking purposes.
Botnets are controlled by malware that infects a network of computers, IoT devices, smartphones, or other internet-connected technologies. Once infected by the botnet, these devices can be remotely controlled, and commands can be executed against potential targets.
During an attack, infected computers communicate with the C&C server through various forms of communication, such as DNS requests and SSH connections. This allows the botnet to remain undetected for extended periods of time.
Three primary C&C server architectures exist to manage botnets: centralized, client-server, and peer-to-peer models.
The centralized model is an established method for controlling a botnet. It offers high functionality and reliable communication but can easily be detected by the bot herder.
Centralized servers are typically set up as either one large server or multiple ones in a hierarchical structure and managed through an admin panel. This panel allows criminals to view statistics about their infected computers and remotely control them.
Some centralized C&C servers are designed to remain active 24/7, while others have a limited lifespan and only run during certain hours of the day. Once a centralized C&C server is disabled, bot herders will no longer have access to infected machines.
P2P (peer-to-peer) models are more recent trends that use distributed servers for command distribution and update purposes. This eliminates a single point of failure in the command and control infrastructure, making it harder for researchers to detect and disrupt botnets.
This topology can be beneficial for botnet owners to divide their network into “chunks” for sale or rent, but it makes it challenging for researchers to enumerate all bots and C&C servers within it. Furthermore, commands must traverse through a large hierarchy of C&C servers in order to reach bots within the network, adding latency.

Who Holds the Power in an IoT Botnet Attack?

Who Holds the Power in an IoT Botnet Attack?

Are You Prepared to Battle the Rising Threat of IoT Botnets?

Cybersecurity experts recognize botnets as a major danger. These malware-infected devices form an army of computers controlled remotely by botnet herders to attack servers, company websites, or individual targets.
Bots typically spread across computer networks by exploiting operating system vulnerabilities. They may also contain payloads that execute actions on affected computers, such as stealing data or corrupting files.
Once malware reaches a computer, it attempts to spread through peer propagation – sending commands via web downloads, exploit kits, and popup ads. Once on a device, however, the malware takes control and starts running infected applications.
The next step is to organize the infected machines into a “zombie network” that can be remotely managed. These networks may be either centralized or peer-to-peer (P2P).
Once a zombie network has enough infected computers, the bot-herder can command each one. They are then able to send spam, crack encryption codes, or launch denial-of-service attacks against targeted servers and websites.
Cybercriminals often utilize botnets to launder money and collect protection fees from large businesses. They can also be employed for identity theft, crypto mining (which consumes a considerable amount of bandwidth and electricity), as well as other illegal activities.
Another way bots can be utilized in cybersecurity is to launch attacks against Internet of Things devices. These inexpensive gadgets often become targets for malicious software infections due to their vulnerability to cheap malware infections.
Hackers can then collect personal data from these devices or use them for malicious phishing attacks. Furthermore, they have access to user accounts and passwords.
Malware that infects a device can make it difficult to determine whether or not it’s part of a botnet. However, you can detect one by monitoring its bandwidth consumption. If you observe an abrupt spike in usage and reduced internet speed, chances are good that the botnet is using your device to send emails or perform DDoS attacks.
Early detection of a botnet is essential in order to minimize its damage. You can do this by inspecting your device for suspicious processes and checking its disk resources. If you come across programs using too many resources, terminate them promptly. Moreover, cutting off your internet connection will stop infected computers from communicating with each other.

Are You Prepared to Battle the Rising Threat of IoT Botnets?

Are You Prepared to Battle the Rising Threat of IoT Botnets?

Please share this post with your friends, family, or business associates who may encounter cybersecurity attacks.