Tech Tips

How would you like to pay ransom for your coffee?

Tech Tips

Smart Device Ransomware

How would you like to pay ransom for your coffee?

Yes, you read that right. How would you like to pay ransom for your coffee? Or more specifically, how would you like to pay ransom to regain control of your coffee maker that has started hissing, spitting, whirring, and beeping without pause? A security researcher was able to make a coffee maker do exactly those things by taking advantages of security holes in the smart appliance.

Convenience vs Vulnerability

Smart devices are appliances or other devices connected to your office or household network. This connection be super convenient, allowing you to preheat the oven with a voice command or unlock your deadbolt when you’ve forgotten your keys. The connection can also leave the device vulnerable to attack.

Two great vulnerabilities are loss of control of the device and loss of control over your network.

1) Many smart devices have important roles in our homes and offices. A device that doesn’t work as it should may pose a safety risk (think of a deadbolt that doesn’t lock) or rack up huge energy bills (have you ever set your air conditioner to 65°F in July?).

2) A hacked smart device may also be a point of entry to your home or work networks. A skilled hacker can use a smart device to remotely access all the information you access or store on your network. This can translate into corporate espionage, personal and company data breaches, and your network being taken over.

How can you keep your network secure?

Get your network properly configured. That means establishing a separate network for your smart devices. The separation will protect your data in case one of your smart devices does get mind-melded with a hacker. If you know how to do this, great—you should be better protected than the Joneses already! If you don’t, go ahead and give us a call. Frontline Technology can set up your home or office network and secure your devices.

If you want to read more about how the researcher hacked the coffee maker, check out his blog.


Frontline Technology is a Managed Service Provider for nonprofits and small businesses.  Founded by pastors and ministry leaders with the principle to see lives changed, Frontline’s core values of Engage, Equip, and Serve translate into valuing client relationships over adding a number to the portfolio.

Frontline understands that technology is often thought to be complicated and expensive.  Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Gain peace of mind by working with a like-minded company that understands your challenges and allows you to focus on your vision.

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