Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Malware on the increase targeting all manner of things

It seems there’s no escape from the dangers of the web, as Kaspersky confirms malware is hunting practically everything.

You’ve seen it on computers, on tablets, and even on phones, and as bad as malware like the ransomware affecting the world as Petya can get, it’s also not the end.

According to new research from the security boffins at Kaspersky Lab, malware in the wild is increasing, and with more than 7000 examples targeting smart devices, it’s likely going to get worse.

Computers running operating systems like Windows and MacOS already have their own fair share, but smart devices like smart TVs, smart cameras, smartwatches, smart appliances, and smartglasses are likely the next thing to be attacked, as cybercriminals go after your information on these devices.

In fact, anything connected to the internet that is a gadget or device is generally labelled “smart” since “smart” is a denotation of internet connectivity, but this can go deeper than merely going online and letting you browse around.

Generally, internet-connected gadgets are capable of more than just web surfing, such as internet capable security cameras allowing you to log on and view your home from afar, or internet-connected fridges to let you discover what’s in that fridge remotely while you’re out and about shopping.

These devices often form a part of what is increasingly called the “Internet of Things” or “IoT”, which is to say it’s an internet of bits and pieces you might not normally associate with the internet that can do more than just stream media, share socially, and browse the web.

Rather, they may store utility information about your life, they might offer controls to your security, and they could let an infiltrator break in and lock you out.

Kasperksy’s team has recently looked into the problem of IoT malware and found that the risk is proving to be quite serious, as 63 percent of the attacks are to camera-related gadgets, while 20 percent revealed network devices like a modem and router made up the other large chunk, with the main reason being ease of use.

While modern operating systems often have bolstered security, IoT gadgets generally do not, allowing digitally-connected criminals to write malicious code and test it easily.

“The issue of smart device security is serious, and one that we should all be aware of,” said Anastasia Para Rae, General Manager of Kaspersky Lab in Australia and New Zealand.

“Last year showed that it is not just possible to target connected devices, but that this is a very real threat. We have seen a huge increase in IoT malware samples, but the potential is even greater,” she said.

“Various analysts have predicted that by 2020, this could grow to 20-50 billion devices.”

While smart device numbers are growing, Australia is fortunately not in the top three countries to be affected by IoT malware, with China, Vietnam, and Russia all leading, followed closely by Brazil, Turkey, and Taiwan.

However, with Australia one of the most affected nations for ransomware, the question of how close behind we’ll be is one that definitely needs to be raised, and cites the need not just for better device and gadget security, but also for improved network securty everywhere too.

Read next