DDoS attacks aren’t a new thing. But an new type of service denial attack is appearing. Permanent Denial of Service (PDoS) attacks infiltrate unsecured devices and corrupt them so that they are made useless. While an epic pain in the butt for the owners of attacked devices, PDoS removes devices from the Internet that could be used in botnet attacks like last year’s Mirai incident.
The malware, dubbed BrickerBot, has only been in the wild since March but it’s already at version 3 and the developer claims the BrickerBot botnet has disabled two million devices. BrickerBot attacks unsecured devices and wipes and corrupts their memory and disables network connections.
It’s interesting as the goal of BrickerBot is to choke the supply of potential devices used by Mirai and other IoT botnets. So, it’s developers are fighting fire with fire. However, it’s on shaky ethical ground. Gizmodo reported that BrickerBot’s developer is their new hero. I’m rather less effusive.
You can use a tool like Shodan to detect open IoT devices and to remediate them. That means either changing the default password, move them to a secured network segment that isn’t exposed to the open internet, or prioritise them for replacement.
One of my concerns is what might happen if BrickerBot is modified with a password hacking tool. Then it could be used to attack secured devices.
So, while BrickerBot might seem to be something of a Robin Hood for IoT, I don’t think we should applaud the deployment of software that could be used to create harm if misused.