Between the dates of December 23,2013 and January 16, 2014, waves of malicious emails were being sent in blurts of 100,000 spam messages several times every day. The culprit? Hacked devices like smart televisions, security cameras, and even one television, which accounted for more than 25% of the malicious messages.
The findings were made by UK security firm, Proofpoint, who pointed out that the internet of things can be just as valuable to hackers as your laptop, desktop, or mobile devices, especially when they are set up with default passwords or just misconfigured. Since these items are not subjected to malware filters or security software like typical computers, they are easily targeted by hackers.
In a statement about the findings, Michael Osterman, principle analyst at Osterman Research said, “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. 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.”