It sounds like the plot of a bad sci-fi horror B-movie but ‘When Fridges Attack’ is now a real concern on the Internet of Things. Security researchers have uncovered a huge botnet – a hacked network using computers remotely to send out spam – of over 100,000 devices.
A botnet of home appliances
The botnet includes routers, smart televisions, and at least one fridge. Smart devices are more and more common in our daily lives and this just goes to show the importance of security.
Most of the devices weren’t hacked in sophisticated ways. It was mainly due to bad configuration and the use of default passwords, allowing hackers to take control of them very easily.
No matter what kind of IoT device, security must be placed at the heart of the design. Devices must be designed securely from the ground up to reduce the risks of such attacks. Users are quite often the ‘weak link’ – never changing default passwords and never thinking about how to properly configure their device – so it’s important that device makers do the thinking for them.
A modern solution
Over-the-air (OTA) software updates help to combat this problem by allowing the manufacturer to remotely patch and upgrade the firmware and software as potential security holes are discovered, usually with minimal user involvement.
A focus on good security gives your company an advantage when marketing connected devices. If you have done everything you can do to keep your product secure, you can use this to reassure customers that their device won’t suddenly be involved in sending out millions of spam emails or, worse, start revealing their personal details to the world.
As the Internet of Things grows, it’s vital that manufacturers allow only the good parts of science-fiction to become science-fact and keep the horror for the silver screen!
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