As the OpenDNS Security Labs team took some much needed time off, we found ourselves wondering what “toys” would be connected to the Internet throughout the holiday season, and what traffic patterns would emerge as a result. This blog post will detail some of our findings through the lens of the Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices, home automation products, toys, and wearable devices.
Belkin International, Inc., an American manufacturer of consumer electronics that specializes in connectivity devices, had a relatively flat showing throughout the holiday season. The only item of note was an uptick on Monday, December 15th at 04:00 UTC. We cannot directly correlate this anomaly with any recent events so this will likely remain a mystery.
Competitor D-Link Corporation (Chinese: 友訊科技), a Taiwanese multinational networking equipment manufacturing corporation headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, saw a similar pattern in traffic destined to signal[.]mydlink[.]com
If we look at signal[.]eu[.]mydlink[.]com, however, we notice a surge on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day (spanning multiple timezones). Again, another curious spike on December 9 that cannot be correlated to anything of consequence.
One of the most noticeable spikes after Christmas was related to the Phillips Hue lighting devices. We saw peaks of more than 1,800 queries per interval which is likely associated with the installation and configuration of the lights. With the recent announcement of the 12 Monkeys television series synchronizing with Hue home lighting to match the onscreen action, we find ourselves wondering what this traffic will look like in the coming weeks.
Google-owned Nest saw very little increase during the holidays, perhaps due to the complexity required to install the devices – compared to that of a simple lightbulb. We find ourselves wondering if this will spike in the new year and if spikes will be seen predominantly on non-workdays.
Arrayent, Inc., a software company that has developed the Arrayent Connect Platform, experienced a sizable spike in traffic to its primary domain arrayent[.]com. The largest spikes we saw, however, were before the holidays even started – perhaps people purchasing new appliances before their guests arrived?
You may not have heard of Arrayent before but you’ve probably heard of some of the brands they partner with.
We looked at some of these brands including Whirlpool (whirlpool-sw1[.]arrayent[.]com).
and Chamberlain (chamb-api[.]arrayent[.]com), a manufacturer of garage door openers and associated equipment.
So what caused the Arrayent spike? We’re still investigating.
August[.]com, makers of the August Smart Lock, saw a significant increase leading up to and continuing through the holidays. We saw peaks as high as 3,537 queries per interval during our analysis timeframe.
The most interesting spikes, and perhaps the most concerning if you are a parent of a small child, was that of traffic associated with educational entertainment company Leapfrog. The company homepage – leapfrog[.]com – saw a significant post-Christmas surge to more than ~31,000 queries per interval. At first glance, we thought this might be related to parents’ searching for instructions on how to configure the devices for their kids, registration of the devices, and even application downloads.
Looking at some of the co-occurring domains we noticed the lfcam[.]leapfrog[.]com domain had an abnormal spike as well. One can only assume that this is in some way related to a LeapFrog camera (hence ‘lfcam’) either registering or, even more alarming, uploading pictures taken by users of the devices.
The devicelog[.]leapfrog[.]com domain also sees a significant increase that likely correlates with newly purchased devices. Are these diagnostic messages being sent up to the LeapFrog cloud or are they usage statistics for actions taken on the devices?
Perhaps the most depressing, yet predictable, traffic pattern observed was that of the FitBit wireless-enabled wearable devices and activity trackers. With the start of Hanukkah (on December 18) and throughout Christmas we noticed a steady decline in callbacks to api[.]fitbit[.]com. The low point, Thursday, Dec 25 at 22:00 UTC, dropped to 429 queries per interval – or as it shall henceforth be known, “The Turkey Coma Canyon”.
We hope you enjoyed this blog post. Now throw on your activity tracker, install that connected garage door opener, install your thermostat, and hook up your new washer and dryer!