Do you have a zombie refrigerator?

zombie fridge

A fridge has been discovered sending out spam after a web attack managed to compromise smart gadgets…The fridge was one of more than 100,000 devices used to take part in the spam campaign.

Uncovered by security firm Proofpoint the attack compromised computers, home routers, media PCs and smart TV sets.

The attack is believed to be one of the first to exploit the lax security on devices that are part of the “internet of things”.

The spam attack took place between 23 December 2013 and 6 January this year, said Proofpoint… In total, it said, about 750,000 messages were sent as part of the junk mail campaign. The emails were routed through the compromised gadgets.

About 25% of the messages seen by Proofpoint researchers did not pass through laptops, desktops or smartphones, it said…instead, the malware managed to get itself installed on other smart devices such as kitchen appliances, the home media systems on which people store copied DVDs and web-connected televisions…

The results spoke for themselves when the addresses responded with explicit identification, including well-known, often graphically branded interfaces, file structures, and content,” David Knight told the BBC.

Mr Knight speculated that the malware that allowed spam to be sent from these devices was able to install itself because many of the gadgets were poorly configured or used default passwords that left them exposed.

Hilarious. Manufacturers of many of these devices are firms already part of geek technology. They’re run by people who should know better and either don’t care or simply presume criminal hackers are dumber than they are.

Many of these devices are unable to be user-updated – you have to rely upon the good intentions, sensible action taken by manufacturers. I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen, soon.

My household wifi systems route to the Internet via a pretty good firewall. My smart devices – including TV – are protected with NSA-level passwords and that’s about as far as I can take self-defense at the moment. Core responsibility lies with designers building-in appropriate barriers to script kiddies and their thug cousins – or they will begin to lose sales to manufacturers who will.

3 thoughts on “Do you have a zombie refrigerator?

  1. Cassandra says:

    News item: Google pays $3.2 Billion USD to purchase Nest Labs for smart appliances.
    “Google has been trying to strengthen its presence in an urban household for a long time.” (Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2014/01/17/googles-strategy-behind-the-3-2-billion-acquisition-of-nest-labs/). …”Internet of THings (IoT) refers to objects or devices that can be uniquely identified through radio frequency identification, and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. According to Gartner (http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2636073), there will be 26 billion devices on IoT by 2020.”

    “Resistance is Futile”

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