Monthly Archives: January 2014

Evidence of Cyber Attack Against Refrigerators and Other Household Appliances

It was only a matter of time: Security experts have been warning us about the rapid growth of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) for the last two years, pointing out that there’s no security systems in place to protect ordinary people from getting their home devices hacked and used as bot-nets. For the first time in history we now have proof of serious cyber attacks against home devices with an online connection – including TVs and refrigerators.

“The global attack campaign involved more than 750.000 malicious email communications coming from more than 100.000 everyday consumer gadgets such as home-networking routers, connected multi-media centers, televisions and at least one refrigerator.”


smart apps

“The attack that Proofpoint observed and profiled occurred between December 23, 2013 and January 6, 2014, and featured waves of malicious email, typically sent in bursts of 100,000, three times per day, targeting Enterprises and individuals worldwide. More than 25 percent of the volume was sent by things that were not conventional laptops, desktop computers or mobile devices; instead, the emails were sent by everyday consumer gadgets such as compromised home-networking routers, connected multi-media centers, televisions and at least one refrigerator,” Proofpoint writes in a new report.

iotAccording to the security company, no more than 10 emails were initiated from any single IP address, making the attack difficult to block based on location — and in many cases, the devices had not been subject to a sophisticated compromise; instead, misconfiguration and the use of default passwords left the devices completely exposed on public networks, available for takeover and use.

“Bot-nets are already a major security concern and the emergence of thingbots may make the situation much worse,” says David Knight, General Manager of Proofpoint’s Information Security division.

“Many of these devices are poorly protected at best and consumers have virtually no way to detect or fix infections when they do occur. Enterprises may find distributed attacks increasing as more and more of these devices come on-line and attackers find additional ways to exploit them.”

While IT experts have long predicted security risks associated with the rapidly proliferating Internet of Things (IoT), this is the first time the industry has reported actual proof of such a cyber attack involving common appliances — but it likely will not be the last example of an IoT attack. IoT includes every device that is connected to the internet — from home automation products including smart thermostats, security cameras, refrigerators, microwaves, home entertainment devices like TVs, gaming consoles to smart retail shelves that know when they need replenishing and industrial machinery — and the number of IoT devices is growing enormously.

traineesworkIDC predicts that more than 200 billion things will be connected via the Internet by 2020.

“The ‘Internet of Things’ holds great promise for enabling control of all of the gadgets that we use on a daily basis. It also holds great promise for cybercriminals who can use our homes’ routers, televisions, refrigerators and other Internet-connected devices to launch large and distributed attacks,” says Michael Osterman, principal analyst at Osterman Research.

“Internet-enabled devices represent an enormous threat because they are easy to penetrate, consumers have little incentive to make them more secure, the rapidly growing number of devices can send malicious content almost undetected, few vendors are taking steps to protect against this threat, and the existing security model simply won’t work to solve the problem.”


Here’s the report:



Filed under Laws and Regulations, Technology

What Journalists Thinks About Journalism

Rational Arrogance

Let me present you with a solid piece of good ol’ journalism, performed by the talented Abigail Edge at She was wondering about what journalists wish they had known before joining the industry? And she actually went out and asked them!

“I wish I had known that experience can teach you more than a text-book ever will, and that journalism is so much more than words.”

Elliott Lewis-George


Well, she didn’t physically go out and ask these people, of course. But – as you know – a tweet is as good as a wink. 

This is a type of reporting I definitely would like to see more of.

journalistLike; what did politicians wish they had known before they became politicians? Or; what do doctors wish they had known about medicine before they became doctors. And (perhaps), what prostitutes wish they had known before hitting the streets? It would be really, really interesting.

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Google’s Nest Acquisition Is a $3.2 Billion Bet on the Internet of Things

Now, where can I get an antivirus software for my refrigerator ??


News broke this afternoon that Google is buying Nest — the maker of Internet-savvy thermostats and smoke detectors — for $3.2 billion in cash. It’s a big acquisition by any standard, and the money involved is less interesting than the future implications — for Nest, for Google and maybe for the entire tech industry.

Nest was co-founded by Tony Fadell (the man who instigated the iPod and turned it into a company-changing business for Apple) and Matt Rogers (also an Apple alum). Google says the Nest brand will stay a distinct brand and that Fadell will continue to run it. But it’s a safe bet that Google isn’t plunking down $3 billion because it has a hankering to get into the thermostat and smoke-detector business. What it’s getting is the team that’s done as much thinking as anyone about what happens when almost anything in a home might be a…

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Filed under International Econnomic Politics