August 08, 2016
Is The Internet Of Things Vulnerable To Ransomware?
It’s a hot summer day. You’re enjoying your nice, cool air-conditioned house. When suddenly, the heat starts to crank up. You go to check your (smart) thermostat, and it’s not broken, but worse. It was hacked! At DEF CON, Andrew Tierney and Ken Munro of PenTest Partners demonstrated this very real possibility.
The demonstrated vulnerability requires local access to the thermostat via an SD card. In their demonstration, they cranked the heat up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit and demanded a ransom of one Bitcoin to unlock the thermostat. According to the researchers, it may be possible to attack remotely if the user downloaded a file onto the thermostat, such as a background image.
With ransomware attacks spreading beyond just personal computers, Internet of Things vulnerabilities should come as no surprise. Last year, researchers presented a vulnerability on Chrysler and Tesla vehicles.
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