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Zscaler report explores 'shadow IoT' security threat across industries

You've heard of shadow IT - but what about shadow IoT? A new report from cloud security provider Zscaler has explored the proliferation of bringing greater numbers of unauthorized devices into the enterprise - with potentially serious consequences.

Zscaler's second annual Internet of Things (IoT) report, titled “IoT Devices in the Enterprise 2020: Shadow IoT Threat Emerges”, has found more than one billion IoT transactions every month in its cloud - a 1500% increase. The cloud-based information security company found 553 different IoT devices across 21 categories from 212 manufacturers when it analyzed two weeks of this traffic.

During its evaluation, Zscaler found digital home assistants, TV set-top boxes, IP cameras, smart home devices, smart TVs, smartwatches, and even automotive multimedia systems are top unauthorized IoT devices on the rise. Most IoT-related transactions were also found to be insecure, as 83 percent of such transactions are being conducted over plain text channels compared to just 17 percent of secure (SSL) channels. Surprising was the fact that Zscaler blocked a shocking 14,000 IoT-based malware attempts every month, which is a seven-fold increase than the May 2019 research.

Over the quarter, Zscaler blocked nearly 42,000 transactions of top malware families like Mirai, Gafgyt, Rift, Bushido, Demonbot and Pesirai that came from countries like the US, the UK, Russia, The Netherlands, and Malaysia.

A study earlier this month of 540 IT professionals across industries in North America, Europe, and APAC by Extreme Networks found 70 percent of companies using IoT devices were fully aware of successful or attempted hacks, whereas more than half use default passwords without any implementing any additional security measure.

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