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Sat Aug 27 06:50:24 SAST 2016

Can you really trust your fridge?

Bianca Capazorio | 30 June, 2014 00:11
Fridges, TVs, and lighting and sound systems that can all be controlled from a smartphone outside the home are becoming increasingly popular. File photo
Image by: Juan de Vojníkov/ Wikimedia Commons

Though the thought of your fridge being hacked for anything more than a midnight snack seems bizarre, the growing trend of manufacturing appliances with internet connectivity means that consumers are at risk of a new kind of cyber attack.

A survey by network security company Forntinet reveals that as "the internet of things" - everyday appliances that are able to connect to the internet - grows, so do security concerns.

Fridges, TVs, and lighting and sound systems that can all be controlled from a smartphone outside the home are becoming increasingly popular.

"The battle for the internet of things has begun," said Perry Hutton, Fortinet's director for Africa.

The survey involved nearly 2000 respondents and found that 40% of them were "extremely concerned" about the possibility of data-security breaches.

Asked what they would do if they discovered that a device was secretly collecting data about them and sharing it with others, 83% of those surveyed said they would feel "completely violated".

Earlier this year, Proofpoint, a US IT company, uncovered what could be the first big cyber attack on smart appliances.

More than 100 000 consumer gadgets, ranging from home network routers to televisions - and at least one fridge - were hacked and used to send over 750000 malicious e-mails.

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