Internet of Things FBI

fbi cert c3

CYBER ACTORS USE INTERNET OF THINGS DEVICES AS PROXIES FOR ANONYMITY AND PURSUIT OF MALICIOUS CYBER ACTIVITIES

Cyber actors actively search for and compromise vulnerable Internet of Things (IoT) devices for use as proxies or intermediaries for Internet requests to route malicious traffic for cyber-attacks and computer network exploitation. IoT devices, sometimes referred to as “smart” devices, are devices that communicate with the Internet to send or receive data. Examples of targeted IoT devices include: routers, wireless radios links, time clocks, audio/video streaming devices, Raspberry Pis, IP cameras, DVRs, satellite antenna equipment, smart garage door openers, and network attached storage devices.

IoT proxy servers are attractive to malicious cyber actors because they provide a layer of anonymity by transmitting all Internet requests through the victim device’s IP address. Devices in developed nations are particularly attractive targets because they allow access to many business websites that block traffic from suspicious or foreign IP addresses. Cyber actors use the compromised device’s IP address to engage in intrusion activities, making it difficult to filter regular traffic from malicious traffic.

Cyber actors are using compromised IoT devices as proxies to:

Send spam e-mails;

Maintain anonymity;

Obfuscate network traffic;

Mask Internet browsing;

Generate click-fraud activities;

Buy, sell, and trade illegal images and goods;

Conduct credential stuffing attacks, which occurs when cyber actors use an automated script to test stolen passwords from other data breach incidents on unrelated web-sites; AND

Sell or lease IoT botnets to other cyber actors for financial gain.

Cyber actors typically compromise devices with weak authentication, unpatched firmware or other software vulnerabilities, or employ brute force attacks on devices with default usernames and passwords.

Compromised devices may be difficult to detect but some potential indicators include:

A major spike in monthly Internet usage;

A larger than usual Internet bill;

Devices become slow or inoperable;

Unusual outgoing Domain Name Service queries and outgoing traffic; or

Home or business Internet connections running slow.

Protection and Defense

Reboot devices regularly, as most malware is stored in memory and removed upon a device reboot. It is important to do this regularly as many actors compete for the same pool of devices and use automated scripts to identify vulnerabilities and infect devices.

Change default usernames and passwords.

Use anti-virus regularly and ensure it is up to date.

Ensure all IoT devices are up to date and security patches are incorporated.

Configure network firewalls to block traffic from unauthorized IP addresses and disable port forwarding.

Isolate IoT devices from other network connections.

Additional Resources

For additional information on cyber threats to IoT devices, please refer to “Common Internet of Things Devices May Expose Consumers to Cyber Exploitation,” available at https://www.ic3.gov/media/2017/171017-1.aspx.

Victim Reporting

If you suspect your IoT device(s) may have been compromised, contact your local FBI office and/or file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

Internet of Things US Cert

Securing

us cert dhs

Security Tip (ST17-001)

The Internet of Things refers to any object or device that sends and receives data automatically through the Internet. This rapidly expanding set of “things” includes tags (also known as labels or chips that automatically track objects), sensors, and devices that interact with people and share information machine to machine.

Why Should We Care?

Cars, appliances, wearables, lighting, healthcare, and home security all contain sensing devices that can talk to other machines and trigger additional actions. Examples include devices that direct your car to an open spot in a parking lot; mechanisms that control energy use in your home; control systems that deliver water and power to your workplace; and other tools that track your eating, sleeping, and exercise habits.

This technology provides a level of convenience to our lives, but it requires that we share more information than ever. The security of this information, and the security of these devices, is not always guaranteed.

What Are the Risks?

Though many security and resilience risks are not new, the scale of interconnectedness created by the Internet of Things increases the consequences of known risks and creates new ones. Attackers take advantage of this scale to infect large segments of devices at a time, allowing them access to the data on those devices or to, as part of a botnet, attack other computers or devices for malicious intent. See Cybersecurity for Electronic DevicesUnderstanding Hidden Threats: Rootkits and Botnets, and Understanding Denial-of-Service Attacks for more information.

How Do I Improve the Security of Internet-Enabled Devices?

Without a doubt, the Internet of Things makes our lives easier and has many benefits; but we can only reap these benefits if our Internet-enabled devices are secure and trusted. The following are important steps you should consider to make your Internet of Things more secure.

Evaluate your security settings. Most devices offer a variety of features that you can tailor to meet your needs and requirements. Enabling certain features to increase convenience or functionality may leave you more vulnerable to being attacked. It is important to examine the settings, particularly security settings, and select options that meet your needs without putting you at increased risk. If you install a patch or a new version of software, or if you become aware of something that might affect your device, reevaluate your settings to make sure they are still appropriate. See Good Security Habits for more information.

Ensure you have up-to-date software. When manufacturers become aware of vulnerabilities in their products, they often issue patches to fix the problem. Patches are software updates that fix a particular issue or vulnerability within your device’s software. Make sure to apply relevant patches as soon as possible to protect your devices. See Understanding Patches for more information.

Connect carefully. Once your device is connected to the Internet, it’s also connected to millions of other computers, which could allow attackers access to your device. Consider whether continuous connectivity to the Internet is needed. See Securing Your Home Network for more information.

Use strong passwords. Passwords are a common form of authentication and are often the only barrier between you and your personal information. Some Internet-enabled devices are configured with default passwords to simplify setup. These default passwords are easily found online, so they don’t provide any protection. Choose strong passwords to help secure your device. See Choosing and Protecting Passwords for more information.

Additional Information

The following organizations offer additional information about this topic:

Online Trust Alliance: https://otalliance.org/smarthome

Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP):
https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Internet_of_Things_Project 
https://www.owasp.org/index.php/IoT_Security_Guidance

Atlantic Council: http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/publications/issue-briefs/smart-homes-and-the-internet-of-things

Networks of ‘Things’ (NIST Special Publication 800-183): http://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-183.pdf

Department of Homeland Security: https://www.dhs.gov/securingtheIoT

Stop.Think.Connect.: https://www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect

Authors

Stop.Think.Connect. and National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC)