Early in October, a hacker released a new type of malware that targets smart devices like cameras and routers.

Dubbed “Mirai,” this malware was used by the hacker to infect and control hundreds of thousands of devices for the purpose of DDoSing Krebs on Security, a security news website. (DDoSing means that the website is flooded with extraneous requests, potentially forcing it offline.)

Now, that malware is public.

What does this mean? Anyone can scan for unsecured smart devices and try to create their own botnet, and in turn can flood the internet with spurious traffic. The world may experience significant internet slowdowns as use of this malware spreads, due to the sheer number of hackable cameras out there.

Many devices come with factory default passwords that the user is never required to update, and this is the main vector for the attack. While the malware can be wiped off the device with a simple reboot, settingĀ a non-default password is the only way to prevent reinfection.

Internet of Things devices are likely to become juicier hacking targets over the next years as their numbers increase.

By Sharon Campbell