Updated 06:42 AM EDT, Mon, Sep 01, 2014

Refrigerator Hack 2014: Smart Refrigerators and TVs Hacked, Send Malicious Emails, Says Proofpoint

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Samsung T9000 Four-Door Refrigerator
The Samsung T9000 Four-Door Refrigerator. (Photo : Samsung)

Has your refrigerator has been hacked? The question might sound ludicrous, but according to researchers at Proofpoint, a series of hacks recently occurred involving one refrigerator as well as some TV sets.

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As Business Insider noted, the hack is being hailed as the first cyberattack from "the Internet of Things" and first home appliance "botnet."

"A botnet is a series of computers that seem to be ordinary computers functioning in people's homes and businesses, but are really secretly controlled by hackers," wrote Business Insider's Enterprise Computer Editor Julie Bort.

"Internet of Things," is a phrase coined for home devices that have their own computer chip, software, and Internet connection. In today's society, the "Internet of Things" includes door locks, smart water meters, refrigerators, and thermostats.

Proofpoint stated a global attack campaign involved more than 750,000 malicious emails from over 100,000 everyday consumer gadgets. The affected "everyday consumer gadgets" ranged from home-networking routers, connected multimedia centers, televisions, and again, one refrigerator.

Proofpoint stated the hack happened between Dec. 23, 2013 and Jan. 6, 2014. A reason for hackers attacking home appliances was due to homeowners not setting devices up correctly or maintaining the default password.

"Bot-nets are already a major security concern and the emergence of thingbots may make the situation much worse," said Proofpoint's Information Security Division General Manager David Knight. "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."

What do you think about common home appliances getting hacked?


For the latest updates, follow Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO

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