Coffee Hack. CARTOON: Rothstein/Morgan.

A Coffee Maker Turns Into A Ransomware Machine

From morning brewer to cybercriminal

Steve Morgan, Editor-in-Chief

Sausalito, Calif. – Oct. 15, 2020

Mr. Coffee, watch out — cyber intruders may be coming after you.

Martin Hron, a security researcher at Avast, came up with the idea to hack a smart coffee maker last year. And he was able to do it.

Coffee drinkers beware — Hron also figured out how to turn the seemingly innocent appliance into a ransomware tool. In an even more sinister feat, he was able to use the coffee maker as a gateway and spy into all the connected devices on the home network.

Talking about smelling the coffee.

Avast Researcher Hacks A Smart Coffee Maker

Martin Hron shows how scary morning brew can be

“We exploited a common problem: Like many smart devices, the coffee maker came with default settings and a Wi-Fi connection, so it worked right out of the box,” Hron wrote in an Avast blog post. “No password was required to connect to the coffee maker over Wi-Fi, so it was easy to upload malicious code into the machine.”

Hron’s goal was to demonstrate the potential hacking of a world of smart devices. What better place to start than in the kitchen.

He and his team went as far as setting up malicious software updates that made the coffee maker do unexpected and potentially dangerous things. They made the burner overheat, potentially starting a fire.

The latest and greatest kitchen appliances can be operated with an app on your mobile phone or tablet. But do you really want one?

Be smart. Don’t click. Stay safe.

We’ll be back soon with another cybercrime cartoon.

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Steve Morgan is founder and Editor-in-Chief at Cybersecurity Ventures.

Go here to read all of my blogs and articles covering cybersecurity. Go here to send me story tips, feedback and suggestions.