Could your fridge send you spam? Security researchers report 'internet of things' botnet
A report published last week claimed that a 100,000-strong botnet included 'at least one refrigerator', but do we need to worry about getting scammed by our kitchen appliances?
Could your fridge send you spam?
This is the claim from California-based security researchers Proofpoint, who announced in a recent report that they had discovered a new type of botnet that included “multi-media centers, televisions and at least one refrigerator.”
Proofpoint says that between 23 December, 2013 and 6 January, 2014, the 100,000-strong botnet sent out more than 750,000 “malicious email communications” with more than “25 per cent of the volume sent by things that were not conventional laptops, desktop computers or mobile devices.”
The news seems to exacerbate fears regarding the security of the ‘internet of things’: with more and more household devices able to connect to the internet, what’s to stop hackers compromising them just as they would your computer?
Read more: Google buys Nest for $3.2bn: What does this mean for home automation and 'the internet of things'?
Proofpoint claim that their research raises "significant security implications for devices owners” and whilst it’s true that there are many problems regarding the safety of these gadgets, security experts are less than certain about the truth of this particular example.
Technology site Ars Technica has said that there’s “a significant lack of technical detail for a report with such an extraordinary finding”, noting that the researchers could have confused spam coming from a hacked fridge with spam from a hacked computer on the same network.
They also point out that from the hacker’s point of view, compromising smart devices just doesn’t make much sense, especially as many of the devices tracked down by the researchers sent out just ten spam messages.
“The botnet reported by Proofpoint requires too much effort and not enough reward,” says Dan Goodin.
However, using smart devices to send spam is plausible and it might just be that in this particular example Proofpoint didn’t look too hard at their results, allowing them to keep that crucial claim that “at least one refrigerator” was involved and thus reap the media attention that followed.
For security-conscious consumers, there's probably more important things to worry about. Proofpoint's report noted that many of the devices were compromised because their default passwords had not been changed by users. For this reason it seems that we should should worry more about basic security practices, before getting worked up about kitchen appliances sending scams to our inbox.
Life & Style blogs
The mother who never gave up on her child abused by the Oxford child sex ring
Britain scrapes into top 25 countries in the world to be a mother in Save the Children report
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
The 12 most sexually satisfied countries in the world revealed
Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
- 1 Technology company Alibaba posts job advert asking for 'stunning' women with qualities of adult film actress Sora Aoi
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
- 4 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...
£50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Analyst / Digital Bus...
£30 - 40k (£65k Y1 OTE Uncapped): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Deve...
Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...