A scary new era of cyberattacks is upon us. Seemingly harmless everyday appliances like webcams, printers, digital video recorders, thermostats and routers are being utilized as minions in distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against websites. These internet of things (IoT), or smart devices, are able to be hacked because they are connected to the internet.
A massive cyberattack recently happened that disrupted the availability of several popular sites. Hackers used the Mirai virus to access internet of things appliances and carry out this attack. Now, there is a list of devices that were targeted by the hackers you need to check out.
On Friday, October 21, a huge cyberattack began around 7 a.m. EST, initially affecting the northeast and other areas along the East Coast. The attack was primarily aimed at Dyn, an internet infrastructure company headquartered in New Hampshire. The first attack was resolved in two hours.
However, a second attack began just before noon EST and was not resolved until around 6 p.m. EST. These attacks severely disrupted the availability of popular websites across the entire United States including Amazon, Netflix, Reddit, GitHub, Etsy, Spotify, Comcast, PayPal, Pinterest, Tumblr, CNBC.com and others.
These outages were the result of a DDoS attack on the domain host company Dyn, which is part of the backbone of the internet. It works essentially as a middleman, directing requests to the right domains.
Domain Name Servers (DNS) basically work as the internet's phone book. They maintain a directory of domain names and translate them to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses so computers can direct users to the site they type in the address bar. When you type komando.com into your browser, for example, domain host companies such as Dyn help to direct you there.
DDoS attacks occur when servers are overwhelmed with more traffic than they can handle. These types of attacks are executed with something called a botnet.
A botnet is a group of gadgets that hackers have taken over without the owners' knowledge. The hackers seize control of unwitting gadgets with a virus or malware, and then use the network of infected computers to perform large-scale hacks or scams.
KrebsOnSecurity put this list of targeted devices together by analyzing Mirai's source code, which is available publicly. Take a look at the list and see if you own any of these products:
Krebs says this might not be the complete list of targeted devices used in the attack. There's not an easy way to know if an IoT gadget has been compromised. To be safe, I'll tell you how to protect your IoT gadgets.
Protecting your IoT gadgets
Since these IoT appliance infections only reside on temporary memory, the first thing you have to do is reboot the device to clear out the malware.
If you are checking your router, IP webcam or connected printer, it is important that you change the default administrator username and password. Do this by accessing the appliance's hub (usually through a web page or a smartphone app). If your smart appliance connects via the manufacturer's website, make sure your password is complex and unique.
Next, check for firmware updates. Now, with these attacks out in the open, manufacturers will start issuing security patches to prevent such infections. It's important to keep your firmware always up to date. If your gadget does not automatically fetch firmware updates, make sure to manually check at least every three months.