A fridge has been discovered sending out spam, following a web attack that compromised a vast array of compromise smart gadgets, marking a new threat to the much-hyped ‘Internet of Things’.
The fridge was one of more than 100,000 devices used to take part in the spam campaign.
Internet-connected home appliances were infected by a large “botnet” over a two-week period from December 23, according to California security firm Proofpoint.
It said hackers managed to penetrate home-networking routers, connected multimedia centres, televisions and at least one refrigerator to create a platform to deliver malicious spam or phishing emails.
The firm said the case “has significant security implications for device owners and enterprise targets” because of massive growth expected in the use of smart and connected devices, from clothing to appliances.
It said these appliances may become attractive targets for hackers because they often have less security than PCs or tablets.
Incidents were documented between December 23 and January 6 featuring “waves of malicious email, typically sent in bursts of 100,000, three times per day, targeting enterprises and individuals worldwide”.
More than a quarter of the emails were sent by things that were not conventional laptops, desktop computers or mobile devices.