Customer Safety Initiative (2019)

By Matt Carothers & Damien Whaley, Cox Communications

In today’s world, more and more companies create internet-connected products. It is estimated that the global internet population includes upwards of 17 billion connected devices (Leuth, 2018). The so-called “internet of things” (IoT) means that even common household items such as light bulbs and refrigerators feature internet connectivity. Companies with no prior networking experience now rush to market with little thought for security. Their inexperience or outsourcing to the lowest bidder creates a fertile ground for cybercrime. Criminals write worms to infect devices such as home routers, cameras, and even teapots. They compromise millions of vulnerable devices, join them together in a network called a “botnet,” and use them to launch cyber-attacks. Such attacks are growing rapidly. During the first half of 2018 alone, IoT malware grew three-fold (Spadafora, 2018).

As internet service providers, we play an important role in fighting these botnets. First, we perform penetration tests against devices we deploy to our customers in order to avoid becoming part of the problem. Second, we work with third parties who report malicious activity in order to identify the Command and Control (C2) servers for botnet infections on our network.

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