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Modern Day alternative to Junk mail through the post?

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Junk email - it comes through the post, through email - Occasionally an SMS message on the phone, but what about your printer? 



According to this article from ZDNet printers around the world are being hacked, so that they can be sent adverts to print, great for advertising - your message delivered straight to the recipients home or office.

This isn't totally new, fax machines have been targeted basically they are old fashioned modems attached to your network, providing a nice little backdoor; and even reports of fridges being turned off remotely.

But you have to ask - Who would expose these devices to the internet? 

The truth is you might not know you have, there is a protocol called UPnP  implemented and enabled by default on most routers, it's meant so that when you run applications they can tell the router to send incoming information back to them - which can be very handy. but things attached to your network can use it as well.

How does this work ? If your toaster is connected to the internet - allowing you to cook your toast remotely when you walk home from a night out ( very useful ) if there was a bug in the software on your toaster - a hacker could take advantage of that and take over the toaster. At that point they are in your network straight past your firewall they have free reign. And they control a device that gets hot - and can start fires.

Really whats the risk? - think of the devices you connect to your home network that allow you to turn the light on, that device can sniff the network traffic, see your machines ... If they can get out to the internet if the manufacturer wanted to they could implement code to let them in or to get information from that device - it's not new and sometimes useful not just the little voice assistance that are always listening.

I Digress - Back to UPnP - Well i think these articles explain it better than i can "Hack Details"... here's another fun read... 

None of this means we can't have these devices, just that we need to be aware and take precautions. And that means setting up your network to be as safe as possible. 

That's my first coffee break article, if you want to know more, have feedback please drop me a line.