Security Experts:

MITRE Offers $50,000 for Rogue IoT Device Detection

Non-profit research and development organization MITRE has challenged experts to come up with novel ideas for detecting rogue Internet of Things (IoT) devices on a network.

MITRE’s goal is to find a solution that can help network administrators monitor IoT devices, including new devices and ones that have been replaced with a malicious version by an attacker.

Researchers who discover a non-traditional method for enumerating IoT devices through passive network monitoring, without the need to change current protocols and manufacturing, can earn $50,000.

As part of its Unique Identification of IoT Devices Challenge, MITRE has also promised recognition and promotion, the opportunity to connect with government agencies, and the chance to better understand the government’s needs by working with MITRE experts.

The challenge is open to individuals, college teams and companies. The registration period has already started and the actual challenge will begin in early November. Participants will have roughly six weeks to demonstrate a simple and affordable solution for identifying rogue IoT devices via a unique identifier or fingerprint.

MITRE has created a model home network that will serve as a testbed. The network includes a wide range of devices to ensure that the detection techniques are also efficient for industrial, military, healthcare and other types of networks.

The organization pointed out that all intellectual property will remain in the possession of the inventor.

Vulnerable and misconfigured IoT devices are increasingly problematic, many of them being abused for cyberattacks, particularly distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

The security industry and governments are trying to find ways to address the problem. EurActiv reported last week that the European Commission is preparing new legislation aimed at securing IoT machines by forcing companies to meet tough security standards and by implementing a labeling system to show which products are secure.

Several major DDoS attacks have been launched over the past period, including a 600 Gbps attack against the website of journalist Brian Krebs and a 1 Tbps attack against hosting provider OVH.

The attacks leveraged hundreds of thousands of vulnerable IoT devices and experts warned that there are plenty of potential victims cybercriminals can choose from.

Related: Hacker Releases Source Code of IoT Malware Mirai

Related: Weak Credentials Fuel IoT Botnets

Related: The IoT Sky is Falling - How Being Connected Makes Us Insecure

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.