Cybersecurity

FBI warns of continuing botnet strikes

Shutterstock image (by a-image): connected devices around the world. 

The massive DDoS attack on domain name service provider Dyn on Oct. 21 that crippled Internet service across much of the United States "will very likely continue," the FBI told private industry recently.

The open availability of malware source codes targeting IoT devices, coupled with insufficient IoT device security, sets the stage for more attacks, according to the FBI's Oct. 26 private industry notification.

The Oct. 21 attack on Dyn, and at least 80 other websites, came in two waves through the Mirai botnet that hijacked control of vulnerable internet of things devices. Dyn said up to 100,000 endpoints were directed against it during the assault.

Despite certain groups claiming responsibility, the FBI said it didn't have any confirmation of a group or individuals responsible for the attack.

Separately, two leading Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are seeking help from the government in ramping up the security on connected devices.

In a Nov. 3 letter, Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) asked the Federal Trade Commission to take steps to get manufacturers to require consumers to change default passwords on connected devices and patch vulnerabilities. This would remove one of the easier ways hackers have of corralling devices into botnets.

"The FTC should immediately use all the tools at its disposal to ensure that manufacturers of [internet of things] devices implement strong security measures to best protect consumers from cyberattacks," they wrote.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


Featured

  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

  • Cybersecurity
    Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff)

    Mayorkas announces cyber 'sprints' on ransomware, ICS, workforce

    The Homeland Security secretary announced a series of focused efforts to address issues around ransomware, critical infrastructure and the agency's workforce that will all be launched in the coming weeks.

Stay Connected