6675743_sUSA: An internet-connected smart fridge has been blamed for sending malicious spam emails.

With the proliferation of “smart” appliances and the growing “Internet of Things” come claims of cyber attacks by household appliances.

Proofpoint, a leading US internet security service provider, claims to have uncovered a cyberattack involving conventional household “smart” appliances. The global attack involved more than 750,000 malicious email communications coming from more than 100,000 everyday consumer gadgets, including home routers, multi-media centres, televisions and at least one refrigerator, over Christmas and the New Year.

While it is not uncommon for pcs to be hacked and commandeered for use as robot-like botnets to launch large-scale cyberattacks, Proofpoint claims that criminals have begun to target “smart” appliances to carry out the same type of malicious activity. The company claims that these poorly protected internet connected devices may be more attractive and easier to infect and control than personal computers and tablets.

Internet-connected building energy management systems have also been the subject of cyberattacks. A report by the US Department of Homeland Security last year revealed at least two attacks on building management software in 2012. In one instance, hackers were able to change the temperature settings in a US government building.

Last year, security researchers found they could easily hack into to a building control panel at Google’s Australian headquarters.

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