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Smart Appliances & Hackers

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A smart coffee machine can make your coffee at 6:30 every morning, or smart tech can warm up your car whenever the temperature is below freezing. It can open the doors at your business and turn on the lights. However the downside, is the security risk. Because this data is moving around on devices that are not universally protected, in an environment where there is no established security standard, we have no way of assessing the level of risk. Most products are often underprotected (or not protected at all), which opens the door to hacking. Computer manufacturers and software companies devote attention and resources to providing security, but appliance makers have little understanding of the field. It is only a matter of time before the hackers start digging into their programs. The first proven large-scale hack of IoT devices occurred in December 2013 and the first week of 2014, according to the security-as-a-service company Proofpoint, based in Sunnyvale, Calif. According to Proofpoint’s press release detailed the marshaling of conventional household smart, or IoT, appliances, “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 multimedia centers, televisions and at least one refrigerator that had been compromised and used as a platform to launch attacks.”

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