The Internet of Things (IoT) promises opportunities for better business intelligence, feedback on customer habits (traffic patterns in stores, etc.) and a host of other benefits. The downside is an increased possible of IoT malware threats from malicious software, according to Nokia’s Threat Intelligence Report 2019.
According to the report, IoT botnet activity accounted for 78% of malware detection events in communication service provider (CSP) networks in 2018. That’s a giant leap from the 33% figure of two years ago, when IoT botnets were first seen in meaningful numbers, according to Nokia.
IoT Malware Threats
The threats could easily compound in the future as consumer adoption of such devices accelerates, driven in part by the advancement of 5G capabilities – including extreme broadband, ultra-low latency connectivity, and massive networking, the Nokia report points out.
The report also found that one of the top problems with malware — crypto-coin mining — is expanding from high-end servers with specialized processors to IoT devices as well as smartphones and web browsers.
“Cyber criminals are switching gears from the traditional computer and smartphone ecosystems and are now targeting the growing number of vulnerable IoT devices that are being deployed. You have thousands of IoT device manufacturers wanting to move product fast to market and, unfortunately, security is often an afterthought,” said Kevin McNamee, director of Nokia’s Threat Intelligence Lab and lead author of the report, in a prepared statement.
Though the report found that attacks on IOT devices are increasing, attacks on mobile and fixed networks in 2018 decreased from previous years, which Nokia attributed to cybercriminals looking further afield for softer targets, like IoT devices, and to better-protected networks, platforms and mobile devices.