10 Types of Cyberattacks on the Internet of Things

There’s no doubt that the Internet of Things (IoT) has made our lives easier and more convenient. But as more devices are connected to the internet, we also see a rise in cyberattacks on these devices. And, these attacks are only getting more sophisticated.

The increasing use of IoT technology will lead to increased concern over ransomware attacks in 2022. These threats could cause outages for consumer products and even smart vehicle systems, which would significantly impact society as we know it today.

John Giordani, Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) – Information Assurance & Cybersecurity specialist

One of the biggest dangers of the IoT is the number of cyberattacks that can target your devices. Staying aware of the types of attacks can help you take steps to protect yourself and your data. 

But before we discuss the most common types of IoT attacks, let’s first look at an IoT attack. 

What Is an IoT Attack?

An IoT attack is a type of cyberattack that targets internet-connected devices, such as thermostats, security cameras, and printers. These devices are often left unsecured, making them easy targets for hackers. IoT attacks can range from simple denial-of-service (DoS) attacks to more sophisticated attacks that can hijack devices and use them to launch other attacks.

Here are 10 of the most common types of IoT attacks.

Here are 10 of the most common types of IoT attacks.

1. Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS Attacks)

The IoT is a network of physical objects that are connected to the internet. These objects can include things like appliances, vehicles, and other devices. While the IoT offers many benefits, it also creates a new target for attackers.

One type of attack that is particularly concerning is the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. An attacker attempts to prevent legitimate users from accessing a system or resource by flooding the system with requests, overwhelming it, and causing it to crash. 

DDoS attacks on IoT devices can have serious consequences. For example, if an attacker can take control of a device like a connected car, they could cause it to crash. This could not only lead to property damage but also to injuries or even deaths. 

2. Man in the Middle Attack

In a MITM attack, the attacker intercepts a communication between two devices and inserts themselves into the communication in order to eavesdrop or manipulate the data.

IoT devices are particularly vulnerable to MITM attacks because they often use unencrypted communication protocols. This means that the attacker can easily intercept and read the data being transmitted between devices.

MITM attacks on IoT devices can have serious consequences. For example, if an attacker eavesdrops on communication between a home security camera and the home network, they could gain access to the network and view or tamper with security footage.

To protect against MITM attacks, use encrypted communication protocols whenever possible. Also, be sure to keep your IoT devices updated with the latest security patches to help prevent attackers from exploiting known vulnerabilities.

3. DNS Hijacking

Attackers are increasingly targeting IoT devices in order to hijack DNS servers and redirect traffic to malicious sites. This type of attack is known as DNS hijacking, and it can have serious consequences for both individuals and organizations.

IoT devices are often not properly secured, which makes them easy targets for attackers. Once a device is compromised, the attacker can change its DNS settings and redirect traffic to a malicious site. This can result in sensitive data being exposed or users being redirected to phishing sites.

DNS hijacking can impact both individuals and organizations. Individuals may have their personal data exposed or be redirected to malicious sites that can infect their devices with malware. Organizations may suffer from data breaches, downtime, and loss of reputation. 

To protect against DNS hijacking, it is important to secure all IoT devices. This includes ensuring that devices are properly configured and using strong passwords. Organizations should also consider using a DNS security solution that can detect and block DNS hijacking attempts.

4. Malware Attacks   

IoT devices are increasingly becoming targets for malware attacks. These devices are often not well-protected, making them easy targets for cybercriminals. A recent study found that IoT devices are three times more likely to be infected with malware than traditional computers.

There are a few things you can do to protect your IoT devices from malware attacks. First, make sure that your devices are always up-to-date with the latest security patches. Second, use a strong password for your device and never reuse passwords for other accounts. Finally, be careful when downloading apps, and only download from trusted sources.

If your IoT device does become infected with malware, it’s important to take immediate action to remove the malware and secure your device. You should disconnect your device from the internet and run a malware scan. Once the malware is removed, you can then take steps to prevent future attacks.

5. Phishing

An IoT phishing attack is a type of cyberattack that targets internet-connected devices, such as routers, surveillance cameras, and home assistants. Attackers use email, text messages, or malicious websites to trick victims into clicking on a link or downloading an attachment that will install malware on their devices. This malware can be used to steal sensitive information, like login credentials or financial data, or to take control of the device and use it to launch attacks on other devices on the network.

IoT devices are often targets of phishing attacks because they are usually less secure than computers or smartphones. They often have weak authentication protocols and are not regularly updated with security patches. This makes them easy targets for attackers who are looking to gain access to sensitive data or take over devices for their own malicious purposes.

6. SQL Injection

One of the most common ways for hackers to gain access to IoT devices is through SQL injection attacks. This type of attack allows the attacker to insert malicious code into a SQL database to gain access to sensitive data or to take control of the device.

SQL injection attacks are a serious threat to IoT devices because they can be used to gain access to sensitive data, such as passwords or credit card information, or to take control of the device itself. In order to protect your devices from this type of attack, it is important to ensure that your SQL database is properly configured and your devices are always up to date with the latest security patches.

7. Cross-site Scripting (XSS attacks)

XSS attacks occur when a malicious user injects malicious code into a web page, which is then executed by unsuspecting users who visit the page. The attacker can take control of the victim’s device or steal sensitive information.

8. Buffer Overflow

A buffer overflow attack is when a hacker sends more data to a device than it can handle, causing the device to crash. This can be done by flooding a device with requests or sending large amounts of data.

Buffer overflow attacks can be devastating, especially for IoT devices that are often not as well protected as traditional computers. By crashing a device, a hacker can disable it completely or gain access to sensitive data. If you have an IoT device, it’s important to be aware of this threat and take steps to protect your device.

9. Zero-day Exploits

Zero-day exploits are attacks that take advantage of vulnerabilities in software or hardware that have not yet been publicly disclosed. These attacks can be particularly devastating to IoT devices because they often have little or no security protection. Once a zero-day exploit is released, it can be used to target any number of devices, often with devastating consequences.

IoT devices are particularly vulnerable to zero-day exploits because they are often built with little or no security in mind. This makes it easy for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities and gain access to devices. Once they have access, they can often do whatever they want, including causing physical damage or stealing sensitive data. Zero-day exploits can have a major impact on IoT devices and the people that use them. It is important to be aware of these attacks and take steps to protect your devices.

10. Social Engineering

Social engineering attacks on IoT devices work by tricking the user into giving up information or taking an action that they wouldn’t normally do. For example, an attacker might send a phishing email that appears to be from a trusted source, tricking the user into clicking on a malicious link. Or, an attacker might call a user and pretend to be from customer service, trying to get them to reveal their login credentials.

IoT devices are particularly vulnerable to social engineering attacks because they are often poorly secured and users are often not aware of the risks. It’s important to be aware of the dangers of social engineering and take steps to protect yourself and your devices.


The IoT is a growing target for cyberattacks. As more devices are connected to the internet, the number of potential targets for hackers increases. These attacks can cause serious damage, including loss of data, financial loss, and even physical harm. Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their attacks, and it is important for businesses and individuals to take steps to protect themselves against these threats.