Fixing Your Infected IoT Devices

mirai-botnetThe Mirai and Bashlight botnets have caused quite a stir in the cybersecurity and IT realms.  The easy ability to round up and deploy millions of devices in a botnet using automated tools has raised the bar.  How we respond to DDoS attacks will have to change.

Nevertheless, you can remove your IoT devices from the bot-net and keep them from being reacquired.  Here are some easy solutions:

First, as clever as these exploits are, they exist only in the active memory of the infected devices.  What that means is that simply unplugging or power cycling a device will remove the malware from RAM, and it is game over for your device, at least temporarily.

How do you know if your device is infected?  You don’t, so my recommendation is to power cycle everything.  Simple enough.

This solves your immediate problem, but it still leaves your equipment in a state that can be reinfected.  Permanent solutions include:

  • Identify all your IoT devices.  This may require running a network scanner and some leg-work tracking everything down.
  • Find out how to log into the dashboard of your device, from the manufacturer’s website.
    • Run any software and firmware updates for your devices.  This should be in the same place as the log on instructions.
    • Change the default user name and password.
    • Disable remote management
  • Isolate your IoT devices on a subnet or VLAN separate from your production network.
  • Do not allow IoT devices to connect to the Internet.  This prevents attackers from even finding, much less hijacking, your devices.

I am still dumbfounded with a product development culture here in the US and elsewhere that ignores even the basics of network security in the rush to create a product and deliver it to market.  This must be improved on. We cannot expect non-technical purchasers and users to suffer through these problems, much less be responsible for solving them.


About the Author:

Cybersecurity guru to business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area. Computer security and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. In 2013 I completed a course of study and certification exam to become a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). In 2016 I was certified as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of computer security, network security, and web site security. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. The views expressed on this Web site are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer.

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