Hackers exploited connected “smart” devices for massive cyberattack

U.S. investigators are still trying to figure out who was behind the cyber attack Friday that crippled some of the biggest sites on the internet, from Amazon to Twitter.

Adam Myers, who works for internet security company Crowdstrike, says someone is sending a message.

“I think it was to demonstrate the power and capacity that they have,” he said.

And a similar attack could disrupt the election.

“If you plan to be broadcasting during the election, this could be used to disrupt signals. It could be used to disrupt your website during the actual election. Depending on what the targets might be, you could use this to disrupt voting stations or the infrastructure involved in tallying votes,” Meyers said.

Federal investigators believe the attackers used malware called “mirai” to access devices in people’s homes that are connected to the internet, like thermostats, fitness trackers, smart TVs and even baby monitors.

“People tend to put these devices on and they want to use them as quickly and as easily as possible. So they don’t go through the steps of setting up a unique password and a unique user name,” Myers said.

“It becomes a really nice victim for these attackers to start looking for these devices and then to inject their own code into those devices,” he said.

The mirai botnet then uses the devices to crash a server or website by flooding it with data.

“I call your phone from 1,500 different phones it’s going to eventually jam up your phone so no legitimate calls can come through,” Myers said.

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Someone with the username anna-senpai claimed responsibility for releasing the code, some of which is in Russian. It included the sentence “I love chicken nuggets.”

The hacker may have used the Russian code to throw investigators off track. It takes time for cyber forensics experts to attribute cyberattacks.

 

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