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Hackers use fish tank thermostat to access a casino's high-roller database

With so many connected devices around us, we need to be careful about the security protocols of each of them.

  • Published: April 16, 2018 4:10 PM IST

Security has become the keyword at a time when every single device is connected to something or the other. With the advent of Internet of Things, connected devices are everywhere, and so are the vulnerabilities. And in the latest example of a jaw-dropping incident, a casino’s high-roller database was accessed by hackers, using a connected thermostat in the fish tank.

As impossible and wondrous as it sounds, hackers actually exploited a security vulnerability in the thermostat to access the main network of the unnamed casino. Darktrace CEO Nicole Eagan spoke about the incident at an event in London as reported by Business Insider. She said, “The attackers used that to get a foothold in the network. They then found the high-roller database and then pulled that back across the network, out the thermostat, and up to the cloud.”

Users are usually not aware of the security flaws or protocols that may be present in the connected devices that they buy. Talking about this Eagan said, “There’s a lot of internet of things devices, everything from thermostats, refrigeration systems, HVAC [air conditioning] systems, to people who bring in their Alexa devices into the offices. There’s just a lot of IoT. It expands the attack surface and most of this isn’t covered by traditional defenses.”

According to a recent study by Israeli researchers, many devices that you can commonly buy give access to intruders using factory passwords. This held true even for devices and their companion apps on smartphones.

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Though it may not be that someone will definitely snoop into your house, but it is safe to know that they can. And it is always better to take protection and review security certificates of the devices being used.

  • Published Date: April 16, 2018 4:10 PM IST