CNN Tech: Connected TVs, fridge help launch global cyberattack

By Brandon Griggs, CNN |updated 5:52 PM EST, Fri January 17, 2014

A smart refrigerator on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week in Las Vegas.


(CNN) — It’s bad enough that we have to fear identity thieves who are trying to scam us with malicious messages sent from PCs.

We now must worry about being targeted by our household appliances, as well.

An Internet-security firm has discovered what they are calling a global cyberattack launched from more than 100,000 everyday consumer gadgets such as home-networking routers, televisions and at least one “smart” refrigerator.

It’s being called possibly the first proven cyberattack to originate from connected appliances — the so-called “Internet of Things.”

Proofpoint said the attack occurred between December 23 and January 6, and featured waves of malicious e-mail targeting businesses and individuals worldwide. In a post on the Proofpoint site, the company said the scam involved more than 750,000 e-mails from more than 100,000 appliances that had been commandeered by “thingbots,” or robotic programs that can be remotely installed on digital devices.

It was not immediately clear Friday which victims were targeted and whether the scammers were successful in collecting any personal information.

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