How Do You Control the Internet of Things Inside Your Network?

Published: 2015-03-02
Last Updated: 2015-03-02 17:21:57 UTC
by Johannes Ullrich (Version: 1)
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Klaus Vesthammer recently tweeted that "The Internet of Things is just like the regular Internet, just without software patches". We have a flood of announcements about vulnerable devices, and little in terms of patches. At the same time, expect more and more of these devices to be connected to your network, if you want it or not. "Bring your own Devices" should be addressed more inclusive then just covering smart phones and tablets.

If you do have a working inventory system that recognizes and blocks unauthorized devices in real time, then stop reading and count yourself lucky. But for most of us, network maps are filed under "fiction" and network access control was this great solution we tried and failed as it hit real network life. So what else is there to do?

One of the critical aspects is to figure out which devices are not just on your network, but also do they talk to systems outside of your network. Active scanning will only get you that far. Many devices, to save power, will not connect to the network unless they have something to say. Some also use bluetooth to connect to smartphones and use them as a gateway. The device will not show up as an entity on your network in this case.

Here are a couple of indicators to look for:

- NTP queries: Some devices do have hard coded NTP servers, that do not match your standard network configuration
- DNS queries: DNS knows everything
- HTTP User-Agent and Server headers

Someone I am sure will provide pointers to do this in Bro. For everybody else, some simple log parsing scripts can help. Any other methods your use to find new and dangerous devices on your network?

Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D.

Keywords: iot
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ISC StormCast for Monday, March 2nd 2015


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