This Experiment Proves Just How Vulnerable the IoT Is

Unsecured devices with default passwords are easy prey for malicious botnets
By Daniel Kay,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2016 12:05 PM CDT
Someone Tried to Hack Your Webcam While You Read This
A Nest Cam webcam.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

After last Friday's massive cyberattack utilized a botnet of infected devices like webcams, printers, and DVRs, the general public now knows what security researchers have been saying for years: these devices are extremely vulnerable to attack. And it turns out, they're under attack a lot more often than one might think. Andrew McGill at the Atlantic set up a server pretending to be an Internet-connected toaster, and watched to see how frequently hackers attempted to access it. It took less than an hour for the first hacker to hit his system—and the first was far from the last.

So why do hackers find these "Internet of Things" devices so tempting to attack? The answer's pretty simple, says CNET: no one ever changes the passwords. Even if users change the passwords used to access the software that manages these devices, they don't change the hardware passwords, which most people aren't even aware of. If that sounds like too much tech-savvy for your regular user, some manufacturers agree, Reuters reports. Chinese company Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology plans to recall up to 10,000 vulnerable webcams and swap them for newer models which urge users to change the default passwords and disable settings which can be used to allow remote access. (More internet stories.)

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