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Number of infected IoT devices has doubled since last year

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/everything possible)

The number of infected Internet of Things (IoT) devices has doubled since last year, a new report from Nokia states.

The Nokia Threat Intelligence Report claims that IoT devices accounted for 16 percent of all infected machines in 2019, but this year the figure jumped to 33 percent.

The company bases its findings on data aggregated from monitoring network traffic on more than 150 million devices all over the world.

Nokia expects the number of IoT devices (opens in new tab) to grow in the future, especially with 5G making strong headway. As a bi-product of this growth, the number of infected IoT devices is also expected to expand at an alarming pace.

The company claims the infection rate depends mostly on the device's visibility on the internet; if the device has a public-facing internet IP address, it has a higher chance of getting infected. This is, in part, due to hackers using automated tools to scan the internet and look for vulnerable devices.

As a possible remedy, the report suggests using carrier-grade Network Address Translation, because these networks inhibit scanning efforts and therefore boast a considerably lower infection rate.

Bhaskar Gorti, Nokia Software President and Chief Digital Officer, says the growing 5G ecosystem and the increasing number of IoT devices is giving criminals “ample opportunities” across the board.

To tackle the problem, both enterprises and consumers need to be more aware of the risks. He also said that IoT manufacturers should also “step up their own cyber protection practices”.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.