IoT-Focused Malware:
How AWS Can Help

Erik Rush | March 2, 2021


One doesn’t have to look too far in security industry publications or news sources to discover that data exposure is proving to be one of the biggest threats from attacks on IoT (Internet of Things) devices these days. For the uninitiated, the Internet of Things refers to the innumerable physical devices around the globe that are connected to the Internet, all collecting and sharing data.

What is an IoT device? In the operative sense, just about any physical object can be transformed into an IoT device if it can be connected to the Internet to be controlled or to communicate information. This means everything from FitBits to jumbo jets, but it even includes non-digital utilities that can be controlled via the Internet, such as light bulbs in the home.

An IoT device could be as fluffy as a child’s toy or as serious as a driverless truck. Some larger objects may themselves be filled with many smaller IoT components, such as a jet engine that’s now filled with thousands of sensors collecting and transmitting data back to make sure it is operating efficiently. At an even bigger scale, smart cities projects are filling entire regions with sensors to help us understand and control the environment.  —ZDNet

This represents a whole lot of utilities and devices, with all of them—at least in theory— being vulnerable to cybercriminals.

Billions of Devices, Trillions of Bytes

According to TechRepublic, as the IoT market has expanded, the number of malware threats targeting this segment has also risen. Researchers at Symantec recently asserted that “the ultimate goal for many of these IoT threats is to build strong botnets in order to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks [against third party targets].”

Digital attacks on IoT devices peaked in 2015, when eight new malware families emerged. Even though IoT-focused malware attacks decreased slightly in 2020, industry observers are still expressing concern that the security of IoT devices hasn’t improved perceptibly since 2015. They maintain that IoT products are easy targets for cybercriminals and victims often don’t even realize they’ve been victims of an attack.

According to Symantec, attacks that originate from multiple IoT platforms simultaneously could be seen in the future, chiefly because increasing numbers of embedded devices are connected to the Internet. IoT malware, they say, targets non-PC embedded devices because they often do not include advanced security features.

AWS for IoT Cloud Security

In addition to their wide array of business and digital security solutions, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud Security provides IoT services for consumers, business, industry and pretty much any other organization one might think of. AWS IoT solutions have been designed with the proliferation of digital devices in mind and the need to connect them, as well as collecting, storing, and analyzing device data securely.

Offering “broad and deep” IoT services, from the edge to the Cloud, AWS IoT is the only Cloud vendor to bring together data management and rich analytics in easy-to-use services designed for IoT data. Protection is multilayered, and includes preventive security mechanisms, like encryption and access control to device data, and a service to continuously monitor and audit configurations.

AWS has also brought AI and IoT together to make devices more intelligent. Users have the ability to create models in the Cloud, and then deploy them to devices. In addition to being more secure, these devices are reported to run twice as fast compared to other offerings. Finally, AWS IoT is built on a secure and proven Cloud infrastructure, designed to scale to the billions of devices out there and the trillions of messages being generated daily.

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Order of the Cipher: Ep 01 Cybersecurity, Tech, and AWS Podcast. Filmed at the Cipher Suite.

Order of the Cipher: Ep 02 AWS, Cybersecurity, and Tech Podcast. Hacking, Coding, and IT humor.

Cybersecurity, Tech, and AWS Podcast. Filmed at the Cipher Suite.