3 Case Studies on IoT Security Vulnerabilities, Hacks & Attacks


IoT Spam Bot Attack Uncovered by Proofpoint

Proofpoint said on January 16 2014 that a spam campaign totaling 750,000 malicious emails originated with a botnet made up of “more than 100,000 everyday consumer gadgets” including home networking routers, multi media centers, televisions and at least one refrigerator.” Proofpoint claims it is the “first time the industry has reported actual proof of such a cyber attack involving common appliances.” via Security Ledger


Refrigerator Vulnerabilities - Samsung Security Hack by Pen Test Partners

Hackers from security company Pen Test Partners discovered the flaw while participating in an Internet of Things (IoT) hacking challenge at the Def Con security conference. The smart refrigerator, Samsung model RF28HMELBSR, is designed to integrate the user's Gmail Calendar with its display. Samsung implemented SSL to secure the Gmail integration, but the hackers found that the device does not validate SSL certificates, opening the opportunity for hackers to access the network and monitor activity for the username and password used to link the refrigerator to Gmail. Hence, hackers who manage to access the network that the fridge is on can Man-In-The-Middle the fridge calendar client and steal Google login credentials from their neighbors, for example.


Baby Monitor Security Vulnerabilities by Rapid 7

Several video baby monitors from a cross-section of manufacturers were subjected to in-depth security testing, and all of the devices under test exhibited several common security issues like

  • Local communications not being encrypted

  • Remote communications not being encrypted

  • Data being stored on disk unencrypted

  • Leaving command line interface open on network port

  • Leaving UART access open.


Typically, these vulnerabilities can effectively mitigated by disabling the device or applying a firmware update when one becomes available, or with updates to centralized vendor cloud services. Some vulnerabilities explored in the paper can only be exploited by having a physical access to the device while others can be exploited via the local network or worse, from internet.