IoT botnets present ‘unmanageable cybersecurity risk’

The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to hit a consumer install base of over 15 billion units by 2021, and a new report has warned of a potential unmanageable cybersecurity risk created by botnets.

New research from Juniper has found that recent IoT botnets are only the "tip of the cybersecurity iceberg", identifying botnets as a key factor in the largest distributed denial-of-servie (DDoS) attack ever that was recorded last year. The report found that the use of botnets to disrupt internet services form part of what the firm refers to as "the near-term threat landscape".

“Attacks such as those on Dyn last October can be viewed as proof of concepts”, said 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.”

A big concern for some time has been the security of IoT devices, and the research calls on manufacturers to "take responsibility" by implementing security-by-design, adding that corporate-scale vendors such as Amazon, Google and Samsung should take the lead in applying security best-practices.

The research also found that the market is "wide open" for challenger cybersecurity vendors. It highlights providers such as Crossword and Positive Technologies which are using machine learning to protect against DDoS and malicious network activity. It predicted 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. 

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