The term “mobile” has come to encompass a wide range of devices these days. Mobile devices have become much more than our Androids and iPhones. Wearable watches, tablets, even home devices all fall under the mobile umbrella of IoT and have the ability to impact our lives for better, or for worse.
This rich IoT landscape holds the key to your digital identity, your connected home and potentially, even your kid’s digital future. Gartner predicts that by the year 2020, 20.8 billion connected devices will populate the consumer home. (Current global population is 7.6 billion people.) As these devices continue to increase in presence in our daily lives, it’s important to understand not only the convenience they offer, but the threats they pose as well.
With the dawn of an even more connected era fast approaching, we at McAfee are examining the mobile threats that might be waiting on the horizon. This year’s Mobile Threat Report, takes a deep dive into some significant trends that demonstrate just how these mobile platforms are targeting what’s most sacred to us – our home. Let’s take a look into some of the most common trends in mobile malware, and a few tips on how to protect your home.
Mobile Malware in the IoT Home
According to Gartner, 8.4 billion connected “things” were in use last year, and chances are one or more of these devices is living in your home today. While many of these devices bring convenience and ease to the home, it’s important to note that they also significantly increase the risk of attack. Many of these devices are developed with innovation in mind, and little to no focus on – security. With that being said, everyday users of mobile devices have grown phenomenally, hence the increased need for security as the frequency of mobile attacks continues to grow.
DDoS Causes SOS
IoT attacks such as Mirai and Reaper showed the world just how vulnerable smart homes and connected devices can be to malicious code. These attacks targeted millions of IoT devices with the intent of creating a botnet army from trusted connected items within the household.
The Mirai malware authors, leveraged consumer devices such as IP cameras and home routers to create a botnet army, launching distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against popular websites. By taking advantage of the low-levels of security on most home connected devices, this malware was able to seize control of millions of devices. All it had to do was guess the factory default password.
The “Reaper” malware strain also took advantage of limited security of many connected home devices. However, these malware authors evolved their tactics by looking for devices with known vulnerabilities to exploit and by implementing a set of hacking tools that showed greater sophistication. The IoT reaper clocked in as many as 2 million infected devices, at nearly ten times the rate as Mirai.
The evolution of the malicious code targeting mobile and IoT devices represents a growing threat to consumers who wish to embrace a culture of connected living. So how can we welcome these devices into our homes without opening the door to cyberthreats? Here are a few tips to consider:
- Protect your devices, protect your home. As we continue to embrace a culture of smart homes and connected devices, it is also important for us to embrace internet security at a network level. With the presence of targeted attacks growing globally, we must remain vigilant in protecting our connected lives by making sure each individual device is secure, especially the home network. The MTR has dubbed 2018 as “The Year of Mobile Malware,” and very tech user should consider using a home gateway with built-in security to ensure every device in their home is protected.
- Download apps with caution and update them regularly. Malware campaigns having been targeting users on the Google Play stores almost since its inception. In fact, McAfee recently discovered Android Grabos, one of the most significant campaigns of this year, found present within 144 apps on Google Play. Stay current on which applications are supported in your application store and update them regularly. If an app is no longer supported in the play store, delete it immediately.
- Invest in comprehensive security. I can’t stress enough how important is to use comprehensive security software to protect your personal devices. Malware is constantly evolving with technology, so ensure your all of your devices are secured with built-in protection.