Welcome!

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Machine Learning , Cloud Security

@ThingsExpo: Article

Layered Defense in the Connected World | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #Security

IoT devices have to be easy to deploy and use, but we should not forget that these devices are really just small computers

Layered Defense in the Connected World

The National Cyber Security Awareness Month is transitory, but many of the decisions we have made around the adoption of technology within our personal and business have brought with them risks that will stay with us for a while. A good example of this is the deployment and proliferation of ‘smart' or ‘connected' devices - IoT.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has promised us more personalized and automated services, optimized resource utilization, and added convenience, but we haven't always stopped to consider the risks that come with the benefits?

The number of connected devices has grown at an unprecedented rate with current estimates at between 6-12 billion devices. This number seems enormous but if you doubt it, I suggest you login into your home router and look at how many devices are registered - you may be surprised when you see your TVs, amplifiers and heating thermostats featuring on the list.

We already have cars that can drive themselves and buildings that can configure their environmental control systems based on your presence. The amount of machine-to-machine communication going on around us is growing all of the time, but in many cases we haven't considered ‘security' as part of our buying or implementation processes.

IoT devices, by their very nature, have to be easy to deploy and use, but we should not forget that these devices are really just small computers. How many of us would plug a computer straight into the Internet using the (old) original, un-patched version of an OS, with no firewall or security devices to protect it, using the default username and password? Not many, but this is what is happening in many cases with IoT devices.

The evolving threat-landscape
2016 brought the darker side of the connected world more sharply into focus, with the proliferation of botnets, and weaponized DDoS services, based on IoT devices. If we think back to the early noughties DDoS attacks were often generated by large botnets of compromised end-users workstations, because of multiple vulnerabilities and a lack of security awareness. Cyber-criminals have realized that IoT devices offer a significant capability, just waiting to be exploited in a similar way, and we all saw how thousands of relatively small, innocuous CCTV cameras and DVRs could be leveraged to generate Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks at 500Gbps or greater, affecting the availability of Internet services from a number of well-known Internet brands.

Many IoT devices have good connectivity on unmonitored network segments, and enough processing capability to drive a significant volume of DDoS attack traffic. Attacks from these devices are responsible for some of the increased scale and frequency of DDoS activity reported in Arbor Networks' annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report (WISR). And, DDoS is just one use-case for compromised IoT devices - more on that later....

Layers-layers-layers
Compromised IoT devices offer attackers a new way to threaten the availability of the Internet services we use, but the best way to protect our businesses has stayed the same. Most businesses today are reliant on the data and application services they utilize via the Internet, and availability issues can be very costly. To combat today's DDoS threat, businesses and governments alike need to implement a multilayer DDoS protection strategy.

Multi-layered defenses incorporate both an on-premise and cloud or ISP-based component. The on-premise component allows businesses to detect and mitigate attacks immediately, before there is any service impact. However, the on-premise solution can't deal with increasingly common, large attacks that can saturate Internet connectivity, and this is where the cloud or ISP-based service steps in - to deal with the higher magnitude attacks. The good news is that many more enterprises are adopting layered defense. Arbor's WISR showed that 30% of enterprise organizations had adopted this model in 2016, up from 23% in 2015.

Putting the right defenses in place does require investment, and there are many competing priorities in businesses for both an IT and security budget. But given the dependence most businesses now have on connectivity for interaction with customers, partners and suppliers, these kinds of defenses are essential. Incorporating availability threats into business and IT risk assessment processes can help to quantify the potential impact of a DDoS attack, helping to prioritize investment, and the WISR report shows that around two-thirds of enterprises have now taken this step.

A broader problem
The combination of DDoS and IoT devices has largely disappeared from the news headlines in 2017, but they haven't gone away. Weaponized IoT botnets are still being used to generate DDoS attacks, but more sophisticated, stealthy application layer attacks are now more of a focus than the large volumetric attacks we saw last year. But, DDoS is only one of the ways in which IoT devices can be exploited. Arbor is already seeing compromised IoT devices being used as proxies to obfuscate the original source of traffic. If you are thinking that the risk to IoT is limited to those devices that are exposed to the Internet - think again. Windows malware that looks to scan local networks for IoT devices to infect is already a reality. This would allow attackers to gain a foothold within a network, using our IoT devices, so that they could then move on to target other resources inside or outside of our networks.

The connected world brings with it huge potential, some of it good and some of it bad. IoT devices can be used to amplify existing threats and create new ones. One thing we can all do is try to avoid becoming a part of the problem, and the solution here is simply to implement good risk management process and IT security hygiene when we deploy IoT devices.

Improving the security of IoT devices and preventing their compromise are key goals of the security industry and the manufacturers of these devices, but until that is done (and it may take some time), everyone needs to protect themselves from the threats we know that are out there - and DDoS is a significant and growing threat.

More Stories By Darren Anstee

Darren Anstee, Chief Technology Officer at Arbor Networks, has 20 years of experience in pre-sales, consultancy and support for telecom and security solutions. In his position, he works across the research, strategy and pre-sales aspects of Arbor’s traffic monitoring, threat detection and mitigation solutions for service providers and enterprises around the world. Prior to joining Arbor, he spent over eight years working in both pre- and post-sales for core routing and switching product vendors. Follow Darren Anstee on Twitter ‏@cadernid

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
Blockchain. A day doesn’t seem to go by without seeing articles and discussions about the technology. According to PwC executive Seamus Cushley, approximately $1.4B has been invested in blockchain just last year. In Gartner’s recent hype cycle for emerging technologies, blockchain is approaching the peak. It is considered by Gartner as one of the ‘Key platform-enabling technologies to track.’ While there is a lot of ‘hype vs reality’ discussions going on, there is no arguing that blockchain is b...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
The need for greater agility and scalability necessitated the digital transformation in the form of following equation: monolithic to microservices to serverless architecture (FaaS). To keep up with the cut-throat competition, the organisations need to update their technology stack to make software development their differentiating factor. Thus microservices architecture emerged as a potential method to provide development teams with greater flexibility and other advantages, such as the abili...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
The use of containers by developers -- and now increasingly IT operators -- has grown from infatuation to deep and abiding love. But as with any long-term affair, the honeymoon soon leads to needing to live well together ... and maybe even getting some relationship help along the way. And so it goes with container orchestration and automation solutions, which are rapidly emerging as the means to maintain the bliss between rapid container adoption and broad container use among multiple cloud host...
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across business networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost as well as advance trade. Are you curious about how Blockchain is built for business? In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, discussed the b...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
ChatOps is an emerging topic that has led to the wide availability of integrations between group chat and various other tools/platforms. Currently, HipChat is an extremely powerful collaboration platform due to the various ChatOps integrations that are available. However, DevOps automation can involve orchestration and complex workflows. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Himanshu Chhetri, CTO at Addteq, will cover practical examples and use cases such as self-provisioning infra...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...