A safe and secured digital environment is an ever green dream of present computing era. Even the routine activities of day to day life are can’t imagined without the digital assistance now-a-days. The digital dependence is increasing rapidly and so is the cyber-crime too. A cyber-attack has many different forms and Botnet is one among the top listed ones and is also regarded as the serious threat call to the IoT ecosystem which is the backbone of digital communication. The bitter truth is that most of the IoT devices can be easily converted into IoT botnets and can be used as cyber weapons to destroy or break the IoT ecosystem.
What is a Botnet?
Let us begin with understanding the term BOTNET. A Botnet is the fusion of two different words Robot and Network. We all know that a Robot is the synonym of automation. So, a group of robots or any automated code in a network of systems with an intention of exploitation to the IoT environment is referred as a Bot (Zombie Computers) or Botnet. With the help Command and Control services which use different security protocols, these Botnets took over many forms from the traditional IRC to the recent advancements.
Botnets are always referred to be group of malware infected systems controlled by a botmaster remotely and are targeted to implant the malicious code into different devices like computers, internet devices, mobiles, laptops etc. The malicious attacks include the denial of service, data theft, un-authorized access and send spam data. Client-Server Model and Peer-to-Peer Model are the two types of Botnet architectures identified till date. The existence of these Botnets have been discovered in the year 2000 itself i.e., more than a decade ago and the number of botnet attacks are increasing in a lightening manner whereas the counter measures improvement is lagging behind.
How Botnet Attacks Impact IoT Ecosystem?
Botnet has different attacking modes and each mode of attack has a different impact on the system. Some of the most common attacks are:
1.Distributed Denial of Service: Ever wonder why you calls are not connected in the first attempt during the New Year wishes on 31st December? Why are your tickets not booked during the high thrust seasons in IRTC? The answer is simple; the server of the respective softwares is loaded heavily with large number of users. Hence the system slow down occurs or you may have to wait for a period time to access your account.
In the same way but in negative sense, in DDoS, the botnet tries to overload the target system by hitting the server continually with fake accounts or un-anonymous accounts which affects the system’s response timely initially and finally a breakdown occurs causing the authorized and other regular customers to face the accessing issues. This also leads to the closing of service temporarily by the affected systems or networks. The frequency of DDoS attack differs from one protocol to other protocol and also how long the system can be in infected mode is also different for each attack.
- The Mirai Botnet is one such malware which can convert the LINUX networking devises into remotely controlled Bots and can trigger the DDOS easily. The attack on Brian Krebs’ website, Dyn Cyber-attack and the OVH attack are some of the DDOS Mirai Botnet attacks
2. By Click: With just a single click on suspicious messages and pop-ups, you can’t even imagine how a malware affects your system. Not only this, even the Google AdSense also plays a vital role in serving as a major platform for By-Click Botnet attack.
It is to be seriously observed that, just by a single acceptance click, even the personal information and the other confidential details can be in the hands of spammers and can create a chance of miss-use. The Mass theft identification and online manipulations are also a part of By-click Botnet cyber-attacks.
Examples: License agreement of malicious softwares and untrusted sites.
3.Send Spam: We are aware of the number of spam messages we encounter each and every day. They all carry a bag of malware software which can intrude into your system and enables the SOCKS proxy when we respond to them.
Examples: Bulk-emails, Phishing mails, Lottery mails etc.
4.Key-logging: Key-logging comes into action when the hacker wants to retrieve a particular encrypted messages or the coded language. This has a major threat on the operating systems and the concerned files are corrupted.
5.AdSense: Yes, the increasing digital marketing competition is the reason behind the AdSense exploitation. AdSense generally implants the particular add on targeted websites so that it can attract the viewer attention and to generates the per click income. But the Bot-masters has taken this as an advantage and created the automated clicks or fake accounts which keep on clicking the particular website link so that the pay per click revenue is increased. Even the unexpected pop-ups we come across also fall under this category.
Examples: The online shopping ad- banners which interrupts our regular browsing.
How to Secure and Safe-guard an IoT Ecosystem?
The only way to protect and prevent the cyber-attacks is to act alert. Especially when coming to IoT devices and networks, every single neglected issue can turn out as a weapon against you. The scope of IoT ecosystem is so vast that the security methods should be altered and improved for every different type of devices and networks we use. Hence, after a deep research and understanding, the following countermeasures can help you to overcome the Botnet attacks and also helps to immune your IoT ecosystem better than ever.
- A thorough understanding of Botnets, their impact, and training the resources accordingly can help to identify and prevent the botnet attacks easily and early
- A very strong network must be designed which doesn’t allow the C&C protocols easily.
- Use only trusted IoT devices, internet connection and other networking operations
- Early detection of Malware
- Stay-Update with security patches
- Monitoring the network behavior closely
- Anti –Bot mechanisms must be installed and updated regularly
Of all the above, Early detection of malware is the most important thing which enables you to react to the Botnet attack quickly before it entirely rules your system. Hence it is always advisable to approach a professional assistance like Loginsoft team who can identify the vulnerabilities by implementing the latest technologies with high dedication and commitment.
A well-defined and secured website and its services is always a prior choice to all the customers and clients.