Report finds millions of insecure devices in European cities – CNET


Unsecured smart home devices are widely used in major European cities.

James Martin/CNET

Millions of unsecured smart home gadgets are vulnerable to attack in European cities, a report published on Tuesday has found.

Computer security company Trend Micro’s report found that Berlin has the more than 2.8 million vulnerable devices, the largest amount in Europe. London is a close second, with more than 2.5 million devices that could be attacked. 

Researchers used Shodan, a search engine that can find internet-linked devices, to work out the number of vulnerable devices in each city.

“Right now, manufacturers don’t pay attention to security when they are designing and building these kinds of devices but are driven more by commercial concerns. Now is the time to push for stronger regulation on security to have devices secured by design rather than rely on the user to make configuration changes. Otherwise we risk ending up with a toxic legacy of connected devices that will never see a security update.” said Rik Ferguson, vice president of security research at Trend Micro.

Unsecured smart home devices such as connected printers and webcams can be attacked and used to cause chaos online. In October 2016, the “Mirai” botnet used hordes of vulnerable devices to conduct a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack on DNS service provider and internet management company Dyn. This caused a massive internet outage, taking down websites across the US. 

Researchers at cybersecurity firm Netlab 360 last month identified a similar network, called “Reaper”, which included over 2 million internet connected DVRs and cameras.

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