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Vulnerabilities / Threats

Man Uses Toaster to Hack Computer

And no, we don't mean it the other way around

We've heard of hackers using computers to hack toasters or soda machines, but until this week, we'd never heard of a hacker using a toaster to hack a computer.

Now we've heard everything.

Any kitchen appliance can be used to attack your computer system, said Dror Shalev, a hacker and security expert who works at Check Point Software in Israel, during ClubHACK 2007, an international convention of hackers held earlier this week in India.

Shalev said he felt challenged by a recent statement by another security expert, according to a report from the event. "I read a senior scientist from Google saying there was no need to be afraid of a toaster at home," he said. "But as a hacker, I came up with a toaster that could actually hack a computer. I call it a ‘Crazy Toaster.'"

Shalev said he developed software and networked it with the toaster. "As soon as the toaster is plugged, the software is activated before it breaks into the user’s computer system. The same software prototype can be networked with any home appliance for stealing the Web secrets," he said. "With wireless technology available, there is no need for connecting the appliance with the computer."

Shalev said he just wanted to convey that one couldn’t blindly trust "anything" in the world of Internet. "As the usage of computers and the Internet goes up, we will need to be cautious about every object in our surroundings," he said.

In the future, people should purchase home appliances only from branded companies, he advised. "If an appliance or home device comes as a gift, accept it only if it is from someone you trust."

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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