Ever have that nightmare where your refrigerator comes alive and attacks you? Probably not, but in the era of smart fridges, this is actually a thing that can happen—that is, if we're talking about cyberattacks.
A new study by enterprise security company Proofpoint shows that over 100,000 internet-connected devices took place in a malicious cyberattack recently that resulted in 750,000 spam emails to be sent out. In the process, computers, media players, smart TVs, and at least one internet-connected refrigerator were made into zombies to do the hackers' bidding.
Obviously, a flood of spam is an unwelcome addition to the world, but security experts are more concerned about what this means for the future of the internet-of-things. "Bot-nets are already a major security concern and the emergence of thingbots may make the situation much worse," said Proofpoint security manager Dave Knight in a statement. Indeed, nodes on the internet of things are the least secure devices on the internet, and as they become more commonplace, the risk becomes more serious. So if fridges are already causing problems, imagine what it'll be like when everybody has WiFi-enabled lightbulbs and internet-connected watches.
Fortunately the solution—or at least, the counterpunch—is fairly straightforward; we just need to come up with a better security infrastructure than what we've got now. After all, this whole internet-of-things business still seems like science fiction to a lot of people. But it's also science fiction we'd like to live in—so long as it's hacker-free. [Quartz]
Image via Samsung, though refrigerator-bot brand is not known as of press time