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, 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 or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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