2020 Sees a 100 Percent Rise of Compromised IoT Devices

Saturday, November 21st, 2020 | , ,

Internet-of-thing devices have seen a 100 percent increase in infections over last year, proving them to a new favorite of hackers and threat actors. IoT devices can be anything from smart refrigerators, televisions, doorbells, and even thermostats.

According to a report published by researchers at Nokia’s Threat Intelligence Lab, IoT devices are now responsible for 32.72% of all infections observed in mobile and Wi-Fi networks, up from 16.7% in 2019. The same researchers also predict that the number of IoT infections will continue to grow dramatically as connected devices continue to rise in popularity and find themselves more and more integrated into private homes and businesses.

Researchers point to the visibility of devices connected to the internet as an indicator of IoT infection rates, with high IoT infection rates occurring when devices are connected to publicly facing IP address. In organizations where NAT is enabled on a firewall or router, the infection rate is reduced, as the IoT devices are not visible to network scanning. Its important to note that standard NAT translates a private IPv4 address to a public IPv4 address, carrier-grade adds an additional translation layer as an extra security measure and will protect corporate IoT devices even more.

Overall, in 2020, Android devices were the most targeted by malware, researchers found, making up 26.64 percent of all infections. Meanwhile, Windows devices and PCs, which are increasingly connected to mobile networks via USB dongles and Wi-Fi, made up 38.92 percent. Researchers have also claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a surge, 30% increase over 2019, in mobile-malware infections, saying that the volume and type of attacks have also seen “profound” changes.

IoT devices have long been under scrutiny for their lack of security measures, with researchers finding in March that more than half of all IoT devices are vulnerable to medium- or high-severity attacks, for instance. In September,  researchers found a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) vulnerability that impacted billions of IoT devices and remained unpatched in Android devices. And in August, researchers urged connected-device manufacturers to ensure they applied patches addressing a flaw in a module used by millions of IoT devices.

The growth of IoT is far from over as the introduction of 5G is expected to continue to increase not just the number of IoT devices, but the number of connected devices accessible directly from the Internet.


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