The internet-enabled fridge is a concept we've been mocking for decades, but modern homes are filled with appliances and gadgets that are net-connected, from TVs to routers. And just like computers, those device can be hacked and exploited to create spam-sending botnets and launch denial-of-service attacks.
Picture by epSos.de
Security provider Proofpoint says it has discovered a botnet which is comprised of "100,000 everyday consumer gadgets such as home-networking routers, connected multi-media centers, televisions and at least one refrigerator". It's hard enough to persuade people to secure their PCs and phones, so it's unsurprising that few bother to take any sorts of precautions with appliances. The main purpose the botnet has been used for is sending spam — Proofpoint says the network has sent at least 750,000 messages — but it could also be exploited for other purposes.
As an IT pro, while you might not be concerned about what gets sent from an employee's fridge, the likelihood is that some of those devices will be used to browse work-related resources such as email. That's why policies that secure work email and systems, and rules about what kinds of devices are allowed to connect, remain essential.