About 30,089 attacks on Internet of Things devices were in 2022 blocked by Kaspersky honeypots – decoy devices used to attract the attention of cybercriminals and analyse their activities in Nigeria.
In that same period, the next-generation cybersecurity solutions and services provider detected and blocked 45,562 cyberattacks on Internet of Things (IoT) devices in Kenya and 221,695 in South Africa.
IoT devices include wearables, smart home appliances, smart city systems, self-driving cars, automated retail checkouts, and other smart devices for home and business use. These devices can collect and transfer data over a wireless network without human input. Cybercriminals use networks of infected smart devices to conduct DDoS attacks or as a proxy for other types of malicious actions.
The number of attacks on IoT devices has been increasing exponentially over the last few years. This is related both to the activity of criminal actors and to the increasing number of IoT devices that are in use. According to open research, in 2020 there were 42,4 million IoT devices operating in Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2030, the number is expected to triple and reach 264 million¹. Capitalising on the weak security of IoT devices, cybercriminals are intensifying their attacks.
A brute force attack uses trial-and-error to guess login and password info or encryption keys, with hackers working through all possible combinations to guess correctly. In the African region throughout 2022 there were over 93,000 attempts to brute force logins and passwords to IoT devices using only the most popular combinations (examples are provided in the table below); the total number of brute force attempts is even higher.
“As the number of IoT devices grows and attacks intensify, cybercriminals use both advanced and simple tactics to infiltrate smart devices. One of these tactics is using simple password and login combinations – our research showed that on hundreds of thousands of IoT devices the most common login-password combinations are admin-admin, guest-guest, or other variants that come as default on different kinds of equipment,” commented Vladimir Dashchenko, a security expert at Kaspersky ICS CERT.
“It is easy to change the default password, so we urge everyone to take this simple step towards securing your smart devices. Speaking of more thorough protection, IoT vendors should consider implementing the next-generation cybersecurity approach in their products – where devices would feature innate, built-in protection that would make them Cyber Immune. Such technology is already available on the market, including offers from Kaspersky. For instance, Kaspersky IoT Secure Gateway system is designed to serve as a secure gateway for the Internet of Things on an enterprise network.”