Posted on December 15, 2017 at 6:00 AM
The very first protective botnet, BrickerBot’s creator, The Janitor, recently urged all IoT device users, manufacturers, and users, to start taking IoT’s security shortcomings seriously.
Since the dawn of Wi-Fi, most devices have become connected. Using the internet, users can easily wirelessly connect various devices to the same network. Devices with obvious connectivity capabilities, such as PCs, smartphones, tablets, and routers, can all communicate with one another on the same network. However, more and more devices are offering its users internet connectivity including, smart watches, gaming consoles, home entertainment systems, smart TVs, and many more. Despite the increasing connectivity, security protocols still remain easily exploitable.
The somewhat questionable nature of the Inter of Things’ (IoT) security measures have made it easier for hackers to infiltrate and infect millions of devices all over the world. Infected devices are often used by the hacker to create botnets, which in turn enable the hacker to launch severely damaging attacks. Recently, the Mirai botnet damaged several websites and threated Internet connectivity on an international scale.
However, the slack security measures also gave rise to a curious piece of malware called BrickerBot. Unlike its botnet predecessors, BrickerBot did not intend to infiltrate and hijack devices but rather sought to prevent more botnet attacks to continue damaging online security. In its own vigilante justice, BrickerBot affected over 10 million devices, which would make them impenetrable to more damaging malware.
BrickerBot was created by a user known only by their online handle of The Janitor. According to The Janitor, this somewhat extreme approach was necessary to encourage users to “get their affairs in order”. The Janitor noted that BrickerBot was successful, from a technical standpoint, however, the user stated that despite this protective botnet, most individuals, governmental agencies, and companies were still frustratingly blasé when it came to getting their security protocols in order. Meanwhile, the Janitor noted that all IoT devices were running out of time.
The Janitor cautioned that if left unaddressed, the IoT realm could soon fall victim to increasingly damaging botnets, which could threaten the IoT’s very existence.
Ever since BrickerBot’s emergence, there have been malware attacks using IoT, but none that were significantly damaging or had long-term effects. However, the Janitor maintained that IoT security was nothing if not a ticking time bomb. So far, these dire predictions have fallen on deaf ears. In an interview with Bleeping Computer, The Janitor noted that leaders in the industry did not seem to realize that the IoT represents an impending security calamity, and were definitely not giving the matter the attention it so desperately requires.
Since its emergence, BrickerBot has “bricked” millions of devices worldwide. However, The Janitor recently issued a new and urgent warning to all IoT device manufacturers, retailers, and device owners by stating that the Internet is only one or two attacks away from becoming severely damaged.