How 1.5 Millions Connected Cameras Were Hijacked to Make an Unprecedented Botnet


Six surveillance cameras overlooking a gas station next to the Autobahn A9/Germany. Image: wikipedia.org/CC-BY-3.0
Six surveillance cameras overlooking a gas station next to the Autobahn A9/Germany. Image: wikipedia.org/CC-BY-3.0
Last week, hackers forced a well-known security journalist to take down his site after hitting him for more than two days with an unprecedented flood of traffic.

By Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai | MOTHERBOARD

That cyberattack was powered by something the internet had never seen before: an army made of more than one million hacked Internet of Things devices.

The hackers, whose identity is still unknown at this point, used not one, but two networks—commonly referred to as “botnets” in hacking lingo—made of around 980,000 and 500,000 hacked devices, mostly internet-connected cameras, according to Level 3 Communications, one of the world’s largest internet backbone providers. The attackers used all those cameras and other unsecured online devices to connect to the journalists’ website, pummeling the site with requests in an attempt to make it collapse.

These botnets were allegedly behind the staggering and crippling distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) to KrebsOnSecurity.com, the website of the independent journalist Brian Krebs, who has a long history of exposing DDoS-wielding cybercriminals. The digital assault surpassed 660 Gbps of traffic, making it one of the largest recorded in history in terms of volume.

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