Is Refrigerator Spam Really In Our Future?

I came across an interesting post over on Wearable World News today titled “The Danger of Smart Spam In the Internet of Things.” The article, by Jessica Groopman, ran yesterday and provides a kind of conceptual overview of the security and IoT space. I think Goodman gets it mostly right: she talks about the proliferation of device types and platforms that will (or already does) characterize the Internet of Things. With hundreds of billions (compared with hundreds of millions) of Internet connected endpoints, cyber criminals, hacktivists and other bad actors have an even greater ability to create armies of compromised endpoints and harness their collective power in attacks. Goodman also gets it right when she notes that many “smart” devices run commodity operating systems like Linux and don’t require lots of special effort to reverse engineer. Finally, IoT devices frequently are low power and embedded systems that lack the processing […]

When The Internet of Things Attacks! Parsing The IoT Botnet Story

I spent most of last week at a conference in Florida going deep on the security of critical infrastructure – you know: the software that runs power plants and manufacturing lines. (More to come on that!) While there, the security firm Proofpoint released a statement saying that it had evidence that a spam botnet was using “Internet of Things” devices. The company said on January 16 that a spam campaign totaling 750,000 malicious emails originated with a botnet made up of “more than 100,000 everyday consumer gadgets” including home networking routers, multi media centers, televisions and at least one refrigerator.” Proofpoint claims it is the “first time the industry has reported actual proof of such a cyber attack involving common appliances.” [Read: “Missing in action at Black Hat: the PC.”] Heady stuff – but is it true? It’s hard to know for sure. As with all these reports, it’s important […]