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Nokia's 2019 Threat Intelligence Report Warns of Malicious Software Targeting Internet of Things (IoT) Devices

Nokia’s 2019 Threat Intelligence Report Warns of Malicious Software Targeting Internet of Things (IoT) Devices

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According to a warning issued by Nokia’s 2019 Threat Intelligence Report, a spike has been reported in the use of software capable of attacking Internet of Things devices such as smart home monitoring devices owing to cybercriminals taking advantage of lax security.

As per the report, IoT botnet activities accounted for 78% of the malware detection events spurred by financial and various reprehensible purposes in communication service provider networks in 2018. The report was compiled gathering information from network traffic monitors in 2018 on as many as 150 million devices across the world and locations having a presence of Nokia’s NetGuard Endpoint Security product.

The figures are way up from 33% recorded in 2016 when IoT botnets came into the picture. A botnet is defined as a system or network of computers that are vulnerable to malicious software attacks and can be hacked or controlled by a single system for malicious activities like stealing bank account details and blocking websites.

More and more of cybercriminals are targeting IoT devices as they shift their focus from smartphones and traditional computers, warned Kevin McNamee, director of Nokia’s Threat Intelligence Lab and lead author of the report. The IoT device makers are aggressively penetrating the market while compromising on the security, said McNamee. In 2018, the IoT bots were reported of contributing 16% in the communication service provider network, which was up from the 3.5% reported in 2017.

The report further highlighted an increasing number of malware-infected threats to crypto-coin mining from high-end servers with dedicated processors from IoT devices and smartphones as well as web browsers. The crypto-coin mining is a process through which cryptocurrencies are transacted through a verified channel of blockchain technology.

Industry experts are of the view that the IoT devices are likely to accelerate the growth of the 5G network. The 5G network is claimed to be large-scale, ultra-low latency with high bandwidth capabilities to connect billions of internet of things such as smart home security monitoring, drone, and vehicles.

However, to believe the findings of the report, the loopholes in the current security system in the IoT devices have given a heads up to the cybercriminals for attacking IoT devices. The cybercriminals are updated with latest tools allowing them to exploit the information of the devices and spread malware on a network of computer bypassing firewalls, said McNamee. The devices that are prone to attack will be easy to locate on a network which in turn will pose threat to other devices as well, added McNamee.

The report although highlighted a rise in the number of attacks on the IoT devices, it indicated a decline in the number of attacks directed to smartphones and fixed network in 2018. This is due to two reasons – a shift to IoT devices and better-protected networks, mobile devices, and platform which are being designed for enhanced security of the user amid growing concern on privacy and cyber attacks.