IoT: a malware story

Since 2008, cyber-criminals have been creating malware to attack IoT-devices, such as routers and other types of network equipment. You will find a lot of statistics on this on Securelist, most notably, here and here. The main problem with these IoT/embedded devices is that one simply cannot install any kind of security software. How do we deal with that?

The best option for tracking attacks, catching malware and getting an overview of attacks in this area is to use honeypots.

About honeypots

There are three common types of honeypot:

  • Low-interaction honeypots. These simulate services such as Telnet, SSH and web servers. The attacker or attacking system is tricked into thinking it is a real vulnerable system and running its malicious commands and payload.
  • High-interaction honeypots. These are real systems that require additional steps to restrict malicious activities and avoid compromising further systems, but it has the advantage of actually running a fully POSIX-capable system. This means that any future attempts to identify the hosts using techniques not already emulated by low-interaction honeypots will fail, thus making the attacking scripts believe it is a real device.
  • Medium-interaction honeypots. These are combinations of the two that offer more functionality than low-interaction honeypots but less than high-interaction honeypots.

Ideally, it is best to operate only high-Interaction honeypots. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of attacks, these types of honeypots cannot scale, and the environment needs to be reset for every new connection. As such, medium-interaction honeypots are the type most commonly used, and the most popular open-source projects are Cowrie and Dionaea.

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Source: Kaspersky