Why DDoS Attacks Use IoT Devices as Weapons?

Indusface saw a 74% increase in the number of websites that experienced DDoS attacks from Q3 to Q4 of 2022.

The frequency and scale of DDoS attacks have increased. Attackers are using more sophisticated methods to evade detection and mitigation.

One of the factors contributing to the increase in DDoS attacks is the rise of IoT devices. They made it easier for attackers to create large DDoS botnets to launch devastating attacks.

A massive DDoS attack against the DNS provider Dyn, caused widespread disruption to internet services, including major websites such as Twitter, Reddit, and Netflix.

Mirai botnet was the source of the attack. The attack was launched using a botnet of compromised IoT devices.

What Makes IoT Devices so Attractive to Threat Actors?

IoT Devices Are Difficult to Secure

Most importantly, IoT devices are often less secure than traditional computing devices and can be easily compromised by attackers. Users remain mostly unaware of the risks. So, they don’t know just how important firmware updates and security infrastructures are. Because of that, they may not implement any.

A company can be home to a significant number of IoT devices. The more unsecured devices, the more hackers can potentially take advantage of them.

Another challenge in IoT security is that not all IoT devices feature a user interface that makes it easy for users to update and secure their technology.

Insecure passwords (or a complete lack thereof), inability to patch firmware, and leaks in the authentication and data transfer ecosystem can also be problematic.

All these factors, taken together, make IoT a target for cybercrime.

Are IoT Botnets Growing?

IoT devices are growing in popularity. Exploding Topics says there are over 13 billion connected IoT devices worldwide. Further, they expect the usage to surpass 25.4 billion by 2030.

For reasons we’ve explored, IoT devices are targets for malware. Having infected devices, cybercriminals can control botnets remotely. They can even launch attacks anonymously, as origins are harder to trace. Attacks can also be launched without any knowledge of the device’s owner.

What Are Hackers After?

DDoS attacks using IoT devices make it possible for threat actors to take down websites and cause an interruption in service.

Cybercriminals are motivated by different factors, depending on the attack and its scope. But whether it’s sabotaging competitive companies or rendering services inaccessible, the intention behind an attack is rarely benign. It often involves extortion.

IoT Worlds says:

“Some botnets are used to steal people’s personal information, like their credit card numbers or login credentials. Others are used to send spam or launch attacks against websites. Still, others are used to mine cryptocurrency without the owner’s knowledge. No matter their purpose, all botnets rely on a network of infected computers, called ‘bots,’ to do their bidding.”

DDoS Attack Using IoT Devices: Where Do They Originate?

A recent report has shown that China is now the main source of HTTP DDoS attack traffic, beating out the U.S. as the primary source. Attacks from China-registered IP addresses increased by 29% year over year and 19% quarter over quarter.

India was found to be the second largest source of HTTP DDoS attack traffic, with an increase of 61% year over year. The U.S. and Brazil are close on their heels.

Filip TRUȚĂ of Bitdefender says:

“The use of IoT devices in synchronized attacks is growing globally, with China listed as the top host country for DDoS weapons, followed at a distance by the United States.”

What are the impacts of DDoS attacks?

  • Reputational harm. All it takes is one attack on one customer for your business to gain a less-than-pristine reputation. Once your reputation has been compromised, it’s hard to rebuild. This can cost you clients, revenue, and time.
  • Lost business. Regardless of industry, there are worthwhile alternatives. If your website is down, then it’s not unlikely your prospects will find another solution and purchase it instead. To facilitate customer loyalty, you must protect against DDoS attacks.
  • Financial costs. Beyond lost customers and money invested in rebuilding infrastructures, you can also lose data, company assets, and other resources in a DDoS attack.
  • Security infrastructure. After a DDoS attack, you must diagnose and identify all potential vulnerabilities. There are also costs associated with equipment and labor.

Do I need DDoS Protection Solution?

There are a few basic things everyone can do to ensure better protection:

  • Keep your devices updated: Ensure that your IoT devices are running the latest software and firmware updates, as these often include security patches.
  • Segment your network: It can help limit the damage a DDoS attack can cause by isolating affected devices.
  • Monitor your network: Regularly monitoring your network can help you to detect and respond to a DDoS attack quickly before it becomes a major issue.
  • Use strong and unique credentials: Use strong and unique credentials for all IoT devices and change default usernames and passwords.
  • Limit the number of inbound connections: Limit the number of inbound connections to your IoT devices to reduce the attack surface.
  • Train employees: Train your employees to recognize and report suspicious activity, such as phishing emails and unexpected network traffic.
  • Have an incident response plan in place: It is essential to quickly respond to and recover from a DDoS attack.

But this may not be enough. If you want to stay in business, you can no longer ignore the need for a DDoS protection solution. It’s the cost of doing business in the modern age.

A managed solution is vital to deal with DDoS attacks. A multi-layered DDoS mitigation solution identifies and blocks malicious traffic while allowing legitimate traffic to pass through. This can be done through various methods, such as rate limiting, traffic shaping, and using blacklists and whitelists.

Additionally, DDoS mitigation solutions can provide real-time monitoring and reporting to help organizations quickly respond to and recover from a DDoS attack.

It is designed to provide visibility into DDoS events and secure the availability of resources that attackers target to disrupt.

In addition, security experts with deep expertise in the security landscape can offer the support and guidance you need to prevent disaster.

Want to know more about effective DDoS protection? Explore what AppTrana has to offer.

Vinugayathri is a Senior content writer of Indusface. She has been an avid reader & writer in the tech domain since 2015. She has been a strategist and analyst of upcoming tech trends and their impact on the Cybersecurity, IoT, and AI landscape. She is a content marketer simplifying technical anomalies for aspiring Entrepreneurs.