DDoS and IoT: How the Internet of Things Amplifies DDoS Risks

September 2020

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have been a growing issue in cybersecurity for years. However, few people would have guessed that the increasing use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices would have an impact on DDoS risks. In the last few years, cyber-criminals have discovered that IoT devices can be used to carry out large DDoS attacks, causing all kinds of damage, downtime, and devastation.

The Problem with IoT Devices

What is an IoT device, anyway? This term generally refers to any product that has its own computer built in, along with the ability to connect to the internet. This can include anything from the smart light bulbs you have in your home to the Wi-Fi baby monitor you use to keep an eye on your little one.

The problem with IoT devices is that users often don’t take the proper steps to secure them because they don’t see them as “real” computers. As a result, they may never set up strong passwords or login information, which makes them vulnerable to a variety of digital attacks.

Understanding Botnets and Their Role

So, what does this have to do with DDoS attacks? In recent years, hackers have begun creating botnets using IoT devices. A botnet is a group of computers that can be used to carry out functions more quickly and efficiently than a single computer could. When utilized properly, a botnet is not necessarily malicious. However, when hackers take over numerous unsecured IoT devices, they can use them to carry out large-scale DDoS attacks.

In the case of an October 2016 botnet attack, IoT devices were hacked using common username and password combinations. From there, a botnet was created using these devices, and a massive DDoS attack was carried out that left much of the United States’ east coast without internet access. Unfortunately, as more hackers begin to see that these botnet attacks are possible through the use of unsecured IoT devices, instances of these DDoS attacks are only likely to increase.

Protecting Against IoT DDoS Attacks

The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your devices from falling victim to these kinds of attacks. Consider, for starters, updating all of your usernames and passwords on your IoT devices. This is especially important if you still use the “default” username and password combination that came with the product.

In terms of dedicated server security, be sure that you’re taking the time to check for and install security updates regularly. This includes installing security patches for specific software or applications as they become available. Additionally, you should be aware of the common signs of a DDoS attack, so you can contact your hosting company immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to one.

How Can ReliableSite Help You?

ReliableSite is happy to offer free standard DDoS protection to all of our users, in addition to a wide range of physical and virtual security features on each dedicated server. Contact our team today to find out more about what we’re doing to protect our users from these increasingly common and devastating attacks.