Spitballing IoT Security

Pierre Lamy pierre at userid.org
Mon Oct 31 17:14:10 UTC 2016

On 30/10/2016 12:43 AM, Eric S. Raymond wrote:
> Ronald F. Guilmette <rfg at tristatelogic.com>:
>>                         Two kids with a modest amount of knowledge
>> and a lot of time on their hands can do it from their mom's basement.
> I in turn have to call BS on this.  If it were really that easy, we'd
> be inundated by Mirais -- we'd have several attacks a *day*.

It's not easy, Mirai was closed source until the actor released it. We
see a pattern again and again, where the bad guys find a private
monetization strategy, milk it, and get out before too much attention is
focused on just them. By dumping the code, the Mirai actors obfuscate

Now that the code is public, we see a huge surge in dumb & pointless
attacks against gaming/mod sites, Dyn, public schools and so on. We also
see bad code "improvements" which were recently referenced.


The long term problem isn't any manufacturer or Mirai, it's going to be
the long tail of IoT devices that never see a patch, deployed by people
who don't know anything about security (nor should they need to... flame
suit on). When millions of any type of device are put online, times
thousands of products, it only takes one bad guy's "a-ha" moment for
this to happen again. They'll milk it for a while, the attack
vector/method will get pushed down to the skid level, and we'll see a
massive increase in un-targeted attacks by those script kiddies until
the cycle repeats. There's an endless fresh supply of script kiddies.

While I agree with BCP38 etc, it wouldn't have prevented Mirai.
Self-update functions at some point for these devices are going to get
borked as well, such as a company going bust or forgetting to renew
their auto-update target domain. If you can't get (thousands?) of major
operators to deploy common sense security configurations, how will
similar best practices be implemented by tens of thousands of
manufacturers? Putting device regulations in one country won't impact
the rest of the internet's connected devices either.

Solutions...? Someone's going to have to take out a hammer, not a
scalpel, for these issues.

More information about the NANOG mailing list