The Internet of Things (IoT) is upon us. Everything from cars to home appliances, watches and even children’s toys are being connected online. It is projected that by the year 2020, there will be more 25 billion devices connected to the Internet.
Those numbers alone are enough to attract cybercriminals’ attention, but what is more relevant here is what these devices represent. It means more data to steal, more systems to take over and more money to be made.
The Next Evolution of Malware
In the past, this same line of reasoning sparked the evolution of malware. In the dawn of the Internet, we saw the proliferation of mass-mailing worms, when prior to that we had only seen file infectors and macro viruses. When Internet use became increasingly widespread in the early 2000s, financially motivated attackers took notice. That’s when we started seeing the likes of botnets, exploit kits and ransomware. We believe the rise of IoT will bring another evolution in malware in the form of thingbots.
Thingbots are botnets composed of infected IoT devices. These devices can be controlled by an owner to launch attacks, steal sensitive data or facilitate other malicious activities. We have already seen a few of these in the last couple of years.