An Answer for the Issue of Ever-Growing Security Attacks on the Ever-Growing Internet Of Things

Care about the fun and fancy gadgets of the Internet of Things (IoT)? Sure. My baby monitor, indoor cam, my speakers, my smart door lock, and more…

Care about the cyber security of the IoT? Hmm, not so sure. Many may answer like that until they learn about the event of Mirai.

The infamous botnet Mirai happened in October 2016 and brought down a large part of the Internet, impacting millions of users. As time goes by, it seems that the Mirai botnet is not going away easily but rather keeps increasing. There have been few big attacks in Europe since October 2016 and we do not know when/if it will happen in the United States. See more details on this subject at wire.com.

Security topics like this usually only get attention from IT professionals. However, with Mirai, things changed when all smart devices—AKA IoT devices—that consumers love became the new target of security attacks. According to a report from HP, 70% of IoT devices are currently vulnerable to an attack out of the box, and the number of smart devices people have at home is increasing rapidly. For instance, we can easily spot how many smart cameras are being sold in Costco alone. Now more and more people are becoming aware of this and are searching for solutions.

To solve the problem, there are two set of challenges to overcome:

  • How do I even know if my home has a security vulnerability issue as most of the infected devices act “normally” while being part of an active Botnet;
  • If I know there is a risk, what do I do about it and how much will it cost?

#1 Am I at risk for attack?

First is to know what devices at home are connected to the Internet. Knowing that, consumers can decide whether some of the superfluous smart products really need access to the Internet, like a “smart juicer” or a Wi-Fi-enabled baby monitor…By eliminating those devices, your risk of an attack is reduced. Sometimes you may also be surprised to find out some alien devices are on your network, maybe a neighbor gets a free ride on your Wi-Fi net, or something more suspicious.

The second part is to find out if any of the devices have open ports or vulnerable usernames and passwords for access.

Beyond that, it will be good to watch whether the device is behaving “normally”. For example, a baby camera at home only sends out zero or low amounts of traffic to the Internet during the day as the majority of the traffic is within the home network. A mom holds a monitor to watch the baby sleeping in her own room. However, if for no reason the camera starts sending out traffic constantly to the Internet, it means this device has been hacked.

To figure all this out, you will have to get some specialized tools to really watch out what is going on in your network and see if there is a risk.

#2 What do I do about it?

After the risk assessment, the next step is to find out what to do about it. In some cases, the devices offer accessible interfaces, you can change default passwords, close the unused open ports, and download firmware updates to get greater protection. However, not all devices are easy to configure or manage, and not everyone is comfortable dealing with all the engineering work. Plus as more and more IoT devices get added to a person’s home, it becomes a constant task to monitor and manage them.

With these two challenges in mind, here at Firewalla, we have a solution for everyone.

First, we offer a free mobile app which can constantly scan your home network from inside and out. A warning will be raised if there is any potential security risk, so you have the risk assessment report.

This free app will come in handy and has already helped tens of thousands of people get the first hand data on how safe their home network is.

You can download the app at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/firewalla/id1180904053

Once it is determined that there might be a risk, the Firewalla box and cloud come into the picture to act as your private cyber security guard for your home.

Firewalla is an all-in-one simple and affordable intelligent shield that secures all of your digital things. It protects your family from cyber threats, helps you controls kids’ internet usage, and even protects you when you are out using public Wi-Fi.

This tiny box contains cyber security technologies used by many large enterprises. It is the first time in the market that an all-in-one solution has been designed for all consumers to provide continuous protection from crippling cyber attacks even when new threats evolve.

The solution is powered by an Artificially Intelligent Cloud. This cloud constantly learns from all the connected devices and actively uses this knowledge to automatically mitigate attacks by sending updates to all connected homes through encrypted channels.

By supporting open source software and hardware, this solution is aiming to be made trustworthy, innovative, and affordable for consumers.

Most important of all, for a hard-to-kill botnet like Mirai, Firewalla may just be the answer for solving the issue of the ever-growing security attacks on the ever-growing Internet of Things.

Check out the Firewalla solution at www.firewalla.com.

Reference of Mirai

https://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/mirai-what-you-need-know-about-botnet-behind-recent-major-ddos-attacks

https://www.wired.com/2016/12/botnet-broke-internet-isnt-going-away/

http://www.zdnet.com/article/mirai-botnet-attack-hits-thousands-of-home-routers-throwing-users-offline/

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