Cyber attack: 750,000 malicious emails traced back to hacked home appliances

California security firm Proofpoint has announced their findings that a large botnet which sent over 750,000 malicious emails originated from the unlikeliest place imaginable: Home appliances, including televisions, routers and even refrigerators. 

According to a press release issued by the security firm, hackers managed to infiltrate over 100,000 "smart" appliances which have the ability to connect to the internet, in order to send out spam emails en masse. The incidents, which occurred between late December and early January, saw "waves of malicious email, typically sent in bursts of 100,000, three times per day, targeting enterprises and individuals worldwide". The attack is one of the first of its kind, and makes good use of the various security flaws typically seen in these home appliances. 

Proofpoint stated that the attack has "significant security implications for device owners", and that in the future, concerns may grow, in part due to the exponential growth of smart appliances. Thus far, device manufacturers have neglected to implement any major safety features, and consumers have no way to diagnose these infections if they do occur. With this in mind, the company called on manufacturers to take steps to mitigate the threat, saying that "preparations must be made for the inevitable increase in highly distributed attacks, phish in employee inboxes, and clicks on malicious links."

Source: SMH.comImage via Electrolux.com

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Review: HP Envy Recline 23

Next Story

Microsoft Office blog compromised by Syrian Electronic Army

34 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Trouble with these "smart" appliances is after a few months they stop getting updates, so you either have to live with an unsecure appliance for ~10years or buy a new one

Or, you could turn off the appliances wi-fi. I personally don't want my fridge trying to get it on with my washer and dryer, let alone chewing up bandwidth by spamming strangers.

Raa said,
Or you could just not buy one...
Except you can totally imagine that in the future 99% of the appliances will have this "feature" by default, and the remaining "retro style" 1% will be custom built for the rich. You won't even be able to disable it without significantly degrading the functioning of the appliance.

This is the future. Everything will have internet connections and smart features... Why do these people need to have their information stolen? Because they are an early adopter?

Yes, for having this silly notion that "Everything will have internet connections and smart features." these people deserve to suffer the consequences of such.

I agree with your sentiment, i dont see the logic behind having a smart fridge.

Having a smart TV however I can understand, In built apps such as Netflix/Youtube and the like helps push the on demand TV structure which is a way better way to consume the product.

However on the list of hacked appliances was routers.

Lord Method Man said,
Serves people right for thinking their freaking refrigerator needs an internet connection and "smart" features.

QFT

Yeah, I draw the line at televisions and media players as well. There is no reason for your freaking refrigerator to have an integrated tablet and internet connection, we existed just fine without such gimmicks in the past.

Lord Method Man said,
Yes, for having this silly notion that "Everything will have internet connections and smart features." these people deserve to suffer the consequences of such.

Well, that seems like a sad thing to say. People deserving wrong to happen to them because they bought a fridge with an IP address.

But thats besides the point. You dont think it would be cool to have your coffee pot start up when you get home from work and have a long night ahead of you. Or plan out meals on a refrigerator and be able to change the meet compartment's temperature when you need to cook something for dinner that night, or change a meal plan to something else. Or pick up a Red Box movie and start popping pop corn so its ready when you get home? Or have your oven set to pre-heat your Papa Murphy's pizza you just picked up? Cause those ideas sound awesome to me =).

Not before we learn to design and write reliable systems instead of hammering out line after line under the effect of said coffee, and design documents being mostly a mockery of the upper management.

yes and in the past people worked less and time to do the things these smart appliances are designed for

Smart fridge + smart food packaging = shopping list sent to super market and food delivered to your door each week which in turn gives that person some time to do things they wouldn't normally be able to do like have a hobby

That looks like one of the most useless additions to a fridge ever. They don't have a tablet? Oh well, "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux"!

Enron said,
Soon those home appliances will be hacked and used to attack people.

I know right, setting that fridge temp setting over the internet to keep that chicken meat nice and warm in that sweet spot from 1am until 5am ready for the following day. It could kill.

Yeah, got a good amount of spam thursday/friday last week. Not sure if it's related but definitely saw a bump up than the usually 300-400 hits a day.