Nokia: ISPs and users must be aware of IoT security

Staff writer
10 Aug 2017

Arnold Jansen [pictured], senior product marketing manager for IP/optical networks at Nokia, says broadband service providers, ISPs and end-users must be aware of IoT security to prevent DDoS disasters, and explains how its next-gen IP-routing technology could help them mitigate cyberattacks.

Security Insights: Last year’s Mirai malware enabled large-scale DDoS attacks by using many IoT devices like CCTV cameras. What can users do to protect against such attacks?

Arnold Jansen: Botnets such as Mirai are an increasing concern. They leverage the massive potential of the cloud and the IoT to launch DDoS attacks that can cause widespread internet outages.

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Security Insights July/August 2017


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Individual users are typically not directly targeted by these DDoS attacks. Instead, IoT users are most often unwitting enablers when connected devices they own are compromised by malware, then recruited in botnets to launch attacks on service providers and large, cloud-connected enterprises. The Mirai malware exploited security vulnerabilities in CCTV cameras that most users weren’t aware of.

Users must protect themselves and their IoT devices by changing default passwords and regularly updating software/firmware. More professional and industrial IoT users should also monitor IoT device and logs for security-related events. It’s a prime responsibility of IoT device and hub manufacturers to quickly address known security vulnerabilities in their installed base through software patches. But it’s impossible to completely secure billions of IoT devices against malware attacks.

What can be done to educate users to the dangers of IoT devices carelessly connected to the Net?

As we have seen with the recent WannaCry worm, the unfortunate reality is that most users remain ignorant of security threats until it affects them personally-then they take precautions. Manufacturers of IoT devices as well as ISPs have a primary responsibility to inform their users about security threats and advise how to safely connect IoT devices to the internet. However, internet access providers and cloud service providers also have a responsibility to provide a reliable, safe and secure internet experience.

If users can’t disconnect vulnerable IoT devices, what holistic solution can be offered to raise their security level?

The best holistic solution is for ISPs to help secure the broadband network by filtering malicious DDoS traffic from locally connected IoT devices that are infected, or from botnets on the internet. They can then alert compromised users to quarantine and cleanse any infected devices, and prevent malware to easily spread and infect more users and devices.

As the number of Net-connected IoT devices continues to skyrocket, what measures should be taken by users before they design their IoT set up?

Prior to making their purchase decision, users should inquire what level of Internet security is provided by their IoT device manufacturer and broadband access providers and follow their recommendations to protect themselves. If these providers lack a reliable security strategy or don’t assume any responsibility, users should seek an alternative solution.

What is Nokia doing to help create a safer online user experience?

Nokia has developed next generation IP-routing technology that will help network operators deliver a more reliable online experience. Based on the revolutionary 2.4 Tb/s FP4 network processor, this technology allows construction of IP networks that combine tremendous capacity and performance, with enhanced packet intelligence and control capabilities that can be used to filter out harmful DDoS traffic at the network perimeter.

The solution works in combination with cloud-analytics software from Nokia Deepfield that will monitor network traffic patterns in near real-time, and apply machine-learning techniques to rapidly detect and identify DDoS attacks as they occur. In combination with the DDoS filtering capabilities supported by FP4 service routing platforms, it can then quickly mitigate these attacks by filtering out harmful traffic before it can cause widespread damage.

The internet is an indispensable asset for businesses and consumers to participate in the global sharing economy. Cybersecurity and denial of service protection must be a primary concern as the internet evolves into an industrial internet.

This article appeared in Telecom Asia Security Insights July/August 2017 Edition

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