Dogtown’s Rob Pope Talks Botnets and Security at IoT World

May 22, 2017 - 2 minutes read

Rob Pope’s “Botnet in a Box”

Last week, the Santa Clara Convention Center was bustling with innovators, execs, and app developers for the Internet of Things World expo. It’s the world’s largest IoT conference, with over 11,000 professionals in the industry in attendance this year. It should be no surprise that the expo was packed out given that internet of things devices are now part of the mainstream. And with more smart cars, smart buildings, smart cities, and smart everything else on the horizon, there’s no reason to expect that the IoT boom is slowing down.

Still, as smart devices pop up everywhere, so have hysterical news stories about IoT security and privacy. Fortunately, there are sane voices out there like Dogtown Media’s CTO and co-founder Rob Pope. A former ethical hacker who currently works with IoT app developers, Pope was at IoT World to give a talk entitled “Internet of Scary Things: My Toaster Is (Not) Spying on Me.”

At the center of his presentation was a live hack demonstrating how the Mirai botnet attack worked. The attack occurred last October when a horde of zombie IoT devices infected by Mirai malware caused a major internet outage. Pope was able to obtain the Mirai source code and unleashed it on stage using a stack of Raspberry Pis he dubbed a “botnet in a box” (see picture above). By doing so, he was able to demystify the security threat that led to a minor media panic last fall for a room full of app developers and those curious about the future of IoT.

IoT security concerns will only continue to grow as connected devices become more and more of a part of the business world. But before businesses can come up with solutions to IoT security threats, they need to understand what kind of dangers they face without the media’s hype and fear-mongering. Steady voices of reason like Pope’s are necessary as IoT enters its next phase.

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