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SECURITY > Cybersecurity

National Police Agency reports steep rise in cyberattacks on IoT devices

  • March 23, 2017
  • , Nikkei evening edition , P. 1
  • JMH Translation

The number of cyberattacks on Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as home appliances, increased dramatically last year, according to a National Police Agency (NPA) report released on March 23. Taking over IoT devices that have comparatively low security protection is thought to be the first step for attackers who seek ultimately to launch a large-scale assault on corporate and government servers.

 

The NPA report discusses cyberattacks and crimes in 2016. To detect cyberattack-related communications from inside and outside Japan, the NPA attaches sensors to the Internet. Last year the sensors were accessed 1,692 times a day on average, 2.3 times the figure for 2015 and the largest ever since the sensor tallying system started ten years ago.

 

The main reason for the steep rise in access to the NPA sensors is the increased number of attacks on IoT devices. According to the NPA, the attackers are searching for less protected devices by randomly accessing security cameras, video recorders, and IP phones that are connected to the Internet.

 

The authorities are most concerned about a virus called “Mirai,” which targets IoT devices. Once a device is infected, it is remotely controlled by the attacker to send data to a specific server. Using this method, attackers can launch a “Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)” attack, where data from many infected IoT devices are simultaneously sent to a server of a certain company thereby forcing the system to crash.

 

The NPA says illegal access to IoT devices aiming to infect them with the Mirai virus has increased dramatically since August last year. (Abridged)

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