TOKYO — With all manner of household devices becoming connected to the internet, cyberattacks on equipment previously thought safe are on the rise, prompting manufacturers to develop countermeasures.
Japan’s National Police Agency reports that presumed cyberattack attempts on consumer electronics averaged 1,692 per day last month, based on activity picked up by each address used by its internet-monitoring devices. That is 7.4 times as many as in January 2016 — and represents just a sampling of the total.
The pace of attacks has risen dramatically since October, with devices like security cameras and video recorders becoming targets. This coincides with the growth of the “internet of things,” increasingly populated by household electronics able send and receive information.
Panasonic will add a cyberattack-detection function to its internet-ready security cameras beginning with models released this spring. The upgraded cameras will be able to tell if hackers are trying to sneak a peek. Online software updates will be available to add similar functions to cameras that have already been sold.
Sony will also provide software updates as it discovers vulnerabilities. Canon has made it so all of its internet-connected security cameras sold since last spring cannot be used if the user has not set a password. That is because many users would keep the default password, which offers poor security.
As televisions are increasingly connected to the internet, they have also come under cyberattack. According to information security company Trend Micro, TVs infected with malware may stop working or display a message demanding payment.
Known as ransomware, these malicious programs have been responsible for a surge in attacks, mostly on PCs, since last year. In response, Sharp has opened a web portal for TVs that offers access only to safe sites.
Besides becoming victims, consumers may also serve as unwitting accomplices in cybercrime when their devices are infected. Trend Micro has begun selling devices that protect household equipment from threats lurking in the IoT.