HOMEOWNERS have been warned over an unlikely household object that has been hijacked by cyber crooks to steal their personal data.
Hackers are taking advantage of a vulnerability found in smart pet feeders, which lets them secretly ‘spy’ on victims, researchers at cyber security company Kaspersky have uncovered.
Onlookers have long said that there is a price to be paid for convenience as smart tech creeps further into the homes of the 21st Century[/caption]
Smart pet feeders dispense food on a schedule and are often operated through a mobile app which can also be used to chat to pets through a smartphone and out of the feeder’s speaker.
Researchers have discovered a critical security flaw present in popular pet feeder setups.
This vulnerability allows an attacker who gains control of one feeder to launch more attacks on other network devices, such as smartphones, tablets and PCs.
Cyber-savvy criminals are able to use these devices to steal sensitive data, gain unauthorised access to home Wi-Fi networks, and even turn it into a surveillance tool.
Kaspersky revealed that the critical security flaw left the smart feeder open to be used to send live video feeds from the other devices with cameras to a cloud server.
One of the smart pet feeder models that came up in Kaspersky’s investigation is currently being sold on Amazon – but there are several others on the market them have the same vulnerabilities,
Beyond being used as a ‘spy tool’, the security flaw opens up the possibility for feeding schedules to be tampered with, which could endanger the pet’s health and add an extra financial or emotional burden on the owner.
Onlookers have long said that there is a price to be paid for convenience as smart tech creeps further into the homes of the 21st Century.
“As our lives become more entwined with smart devices, attackers are seizing the opportunity to exploit the weakest links in our interconnected ecosystem,” Roland Saco, security expert at Kaspersky, said in a statement.
“It is essential that we recognise the potential risks posed by unexpected devices and maintain a constant state of vigilance. By staying informed, practising good cyber security hygiene, and fostering a collective responsibility for security, we can thwart the advances of attackers and preserve the integrity of our interconnected world.”
Experts have advised consumers to make sure that the operating systems and software of other network devices is all up to date before you introduce a new device into the home.
Research before a purchase is also vital.
It’s important to research the manufacturer’s reputation for security and privacy before handing over your hard-earned cash.
And of course, always be cautious and review app permissions.
Only provide necessary access to features and data, and avoid granting excessive privileges.
The Sun has contacted Amazon for comment.
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