IoT BotnetsAnd Shifting Ransomware Are Raising The Stakes For Enterprises Worldwide

A new report from Nozomi Networks Labs finds cyber threats against Operational Technology (OT) and IoT infrastructure continued to grow in number and impact in the first half of 2020.

OT-reliant organisations are increasingly embracing IoT devices, and COVID-19 has forced a global shift to remote work. Unfortunately, threat actors appear to be capitalising on these trends. In the first six months of this year, hackers used IoT botnets and shifting ransomware tactics as their weapons of choice for targeting OT and IoT networks.

Nozomi Networks’ “OT/IoT Security Report,” gives an overview of the most active OT and IoT threats seen by Nozomi Networks Labs in the first half of this year. The report found:

  • New and modified IoT botnets are among the fastest growing categories of attacks, as threat actors take advantage of the increased use of IoT devices in operational networks.
  • Ransomware attackers are demanding higher ransoms, aimed at larger and more critical organisations. Additionally, ransomware gangs are often using a two-pronged approach that combines data encryption with data theft, making it difficult for the victim to avoid paying up.
  • SNAKE/EKANS ransomware continued to strike, exhibiting OT-awareness and suggesting that non-state threat actors could target industrial control systems.
  • The COVID-19 global pandemic provided threat actors with more vectors and opportunities for exploitation. Coronavirus has also opened the door to unscrupulous attacks targeting researchers and healthcare organisations on the front lines.
  • Improper input validation and buffer overflows topped the ICS-Cert vulnerabilities reported in the first half of 2020. The number of vulnerabilities tracked by ICS-Cert is growing significantly compared to 2019.