When a hacker hijacks a computer, gaining persistence (or making sure his malicious trojan stays on the computer) is easy. The attacker just has to load malware onto the computer’s hard drive and make sure it runs when the computer reboots. However, hijacking the Internet of Things (IoT) is a different story. Many IoT devices don’t have local storage, and are often small embedded systems with low resources. Gaining persistence on these devices is much more difficult and may actually involve modifying the software these devices use to boot, which we call firmware.
Prediction video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iU63Bhmv6LU
Next year, we expect to see more researchers release proof-of-concept attacks that permanently modify and hijack the firmware of IoT devices. It’s not enough to just find a vulnerability in these devices, but you also have to figure out how to inject malicious code that can stick around. We expect to see vendors start to harden the security of their IoT devices by implementing secure boot mechanisms that makes it more difficult for attackers to modify firmware.
Visit our WatchGuard security predictions site