India has emerged as the ‘most vulnerable’ to cyber attacks due to the deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) systems. On February 28 this year, the day of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, the country found itself as the most-targeted nation as it experienced a large spurt in attacks, according to a recent study by cyber security firm Subex.
The country saw a 22% jump in total number of attacks in the IoT segment during the quarter ended June, the report said. Globally, cyber attacks increased by 13% during the same period. This was also the second consecutive quarter that India topped the list of most-attacked nations in Subex’s study. Singapore, UK, and France were the other countries with a high number of attacks.
The Bengaluru-based Subex captured details of attacks from its “honeypot” network (a decoy computer system for trapping hackers) that covers over 4,000 IoT devices. During the June quarter, Subex researchers recorded 33,450 high-grade attacks, 500 of which were of “very high sophistication”.
As many as 15,000 new samples of malware were discovered this quarter and, in a sign of increased sophistication of threats, 17% of the samples collected were modular malware — an advanced attack on a system that acts in different stages. IoT deployments in India received the maximum number of attacks from a few geographies in Central Europe such as Czech Republic and Poland. “These attacks were originating from a few botnets that we detected in the region. The IP range clearly indicated a signiﬁcant degree of compromise,” the report said.
Subex MD and CEO Vinod Kumar said there are also strong geopolitical influences seen in some of the attacks on critical infrastructure with patterns of IP-spooﬁng with an intent to hide the geography of origin. “For instance, on February 28, the day of increased tensions between India and Pakistan, India came up to the first spot as the most attacked nation, with attacks originating from hacker-controlled bot farms,” he said. Even as IoT in India moves from proof of concept to full-scale deployments rapidly, the country’s deep expertise and preparedness level hasn’t kept pace, he added. IoT systems related to smart cities, financial services, and transportation sectors were the top targets for hackers, accounting for over 51% of all cyber attacks registered. Mumbai, Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru were among the most attacked cities.
A Gartner study said that globally IoT deployments are set to surpass 25 billion by 2025. Gartner principal analyst Rajpreet Kaur said that unlike Western economies, the purchase and deployment of IoT devices is largely handled by CTOs in India, with CIOs hardly involved in the entire process.―Times of India