Reports of first IPv6 DDoS attack spark serious fear for IoT future

5 Mar 2018

Image: optimarc/Shutterstock

This week in IoT, a supposedly bulletproof standard is shown to be not so sturdy, while Mobile World Congress proved that the technology is still a darling for many.

On the internet of things (IoT) calendar, there are few bigger events than Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), which managed to narrowly avoid the worst of the ‘Beast from the East’.’s editor John Kennedy was there on the ground, and he put together a handy list of the seven key trends noticeable throughout, including: smart cities, narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), 5G and virtual reality (VR).

Another piece of news from an Irish perspective at MWC was security player Cellusys announcing that it had forged a partnership with one of the world’s longest-established telcos, Jersey Telecom (JT).

The partnership will enable enterprise customers of JT to actually see and manage their cellular connectivity security of IoT and machine-to-machine SIMs via an IoT security dashboard.

Is IPv6 more vulnerable than we think?

As we barrel towards a world where there will be 75bn IoT devices by 2025, there is and will be an insatiable demand for IP addresses that simply can’t be met on the current IPv4 standard.

That is why developers and pioneering internet figures such as Vint Cerf have been calling for the wider adoption of IPv6, which is capable of creating 340 undecillion possibilities, as opposed to IPv4’s 4.3bn.

However, there are fears now that IPv6 might not be as secure as we once thought, after reports of what could be the first DDoS attack on an IPv6-based system.

According to The Register, NeuStar network engineer Wesley George recently identified a significant amount of strange traffic being driven to a client as part of a wider attack, but noticed that packets coming from IPv6 addresses were being sent to an IPv6 host.

While the attack wasn’t as significant – and nowhere near as damaging as something like Mirai – it does raise questions over whether this is just the beginning of wider IPv6 attacks.

NeuStar’s head of research and development, Barrett Lyon, said: “The risk is that if you don’t have IPv6 as part of your threat model, you could get blindsided.

“People don’t tend to think of security as a priority … It doesn’t come until there’s a crisis.”

South-east Asia gets its first massive NB-IoT network

Large-scale IoT has come to south-east Asia in a major way, according to Techwire Asia, as Ericsson and Dialog Axiata confirmed the rolling out of the first massive network supporting both NB-IoT and Cat-M1.

“With this launch, we are seeking to accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies by enterprises and help them create exciting new products and services for consumers,” said Dialog Axiata CTO Pradeep De Almeida.

“The Cat-M1-NB-IoT network will amplify opportunity for solutions such as smart metering for utilities, smart parking, smart bins, smart environmental sensors for smart cities, logistic solutions, as well as other applications in agriculture and farming.”

The fact that both different standards are supported should make the adoption quicker but so far, NB-IoT has proven to be more popular overall because it is substantially cheaper than Cat-M1 and consumes less power.

Your smart home can sound siren when a horse gives birth

One of the latest additions to peculiar – but somewhat beneficial – technology was the news of the release of Foalert, an IoT sensor that tells a farmer when a horse is giving birth.

According to CEPro, the device works by placing the sensors near the “mare’s privates”, recording when activity is underway.

This then sends a neighing alert to the owner across 18 different speakers around the home, even sending text messages to the person’s phone.

If you really want to, you can also install a camera that turns on when the birthing process begins.

It seems there is no end to the possibilities when it comes to devices being hooked up to IoT.

Updated, 10.50am, 5 March 2018: This article was updated to clarify that there are predicted to be 75bn IoT devices worldwide by 2025, not 25bn. 

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic