Nokia warns of rising IOT cyberattacks

Saf Malik
October 23, 2020

Findings are based on data aggregated from network traffic on over 150 million devices

A report from Nokia has indicated a rising risk of cyber-attacks on internet-connected devices.

Nokia’s Threat Intelligence Report found that internet-connected devices now make up around double (33 per cent) the number of infected devices than they did in 2019. The report also highlights the role of numerous COVID-19 themed cybercriminal campaigns which are aimed at exploiting user data.

The report found that IoT devices now make up roughly 33 per cent of infected devices, up from about 16 per cent in 2019.

The findings are based on data aggregated from monitoring network traffic on more than 150 million devices globally where Nokia’s NetGuard Endpoint Security product is deployed.

Adoption of IoT devices is expected to continue growing as consumers and enterprises take advantage of high bandwidth, ultra-low latency, and drastically new networking capabilities that 5G allows mobile networks.

The rate of success in infecting IoT devices depends on the visibility of the devices to the internet according to the report.

In networks where devices are regularly assigned public-facing internet IP addresses, there will be higher infection rates. In networks where carrier-grade Network Address Translation is used, the infection rate is considerably lower due to the vulnerable devices not being visible to network scanning.

The report also showed that there is no let up in cybercriminals using the coronavirus pandemic to try to steal personal data through different types of malware. One is disguised as a “coronavirus map” application which mimics the legitimate map issued by John Hopkins University to take advantage of public demand for accurate information about the pandemic.

Nokia software president and chief digital officer Bhaskar Gorti said: “The sweeping changes that are taking place in the 5G ecosystem, with even more 5G networks being deployed around the world as we move to 2021, open ample opportunities for malicious actors to take advantage of vulnerabilities in IoT devices.

“This report reinforces not only the critical need for consumers and enterprises to step up their own cyber protection practices, but for IoT device producers to do the same.”


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