When Your Fridge Is Sending Spam (and killing Snowden, Ellsberg/Spying, comments on NSA “reforms”)

That didn’t take long. Internet crooks have started exploiting the “Internet of Things.” Here, they used network-connected fridges, media servers, network-connected TVs, and the like as platforms to send spam.

Of 750,000 junk emails sent, 25% were routed through specialized products like appliances. The rest went through more ordinary laptops/desktops/smartphones. (Yes, your smartphone can be hijacked and used to send out promotions for Nigerian penis enlargment pharmacies. Or whatever.)

Since the attack lasted from December 23 to Jan 6 this year, Schneier’s warning about the “Internet of Things” and its awful insecurity seems less precient already — and more like a “last warning before everything goes to hell.”

Don’t trust networked toasters you don’t understand?

US spies want Snowden dead. So much for the Constitution and due process — first they say any abuses would be impossible, then they droolingly fantasize about pulling a “trial and hanging — forget the trial, just hang him” Georgi Markov-style covert assassination.

Obscene fantasies aside, this sort of thing is a serious operational security concern for Snowden. It’s debatable whether the US or the Russians have more chemical and biological warfare expertise, but my money is on the Americans. No doubt the Russians have tight enough counterintelligence that any such attempt would have Snowden either tipped off or “accidentally” delayed somewhere, but if he ends up in another country… the disadvantage to freedom is it applies to everyone!

An instinctive sense of the people around you and a knowledge of exotic conditions and cures quickly becomes useful. Self-awareness possibly too: Ochorowicz believed that, properly done, a “magnetic trance” could stop the action even of poison. (He tested with less harmful substances.)


Daniel “I was Chelsea Manning” Ellsberg was on the US government radar before the Pentagon Papers leak. This seems highly significant. http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1vahsi/i_am_pentagon_papers_leaker_daniel_ellsberg/ceqjvcl?context=3

Obama said “at least it’s not as bad as East Germany.” Germany, and the rest of Europe, is not impressed. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/01/17/214961/european-commentators-see-little.html#storylink=cpy

Greenwald on the Obama speech. Good point.

One cartoonist speculates on the reaction inside the NSA. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BeNuV38IIAAUlZk.jpg:large


“A fridge has been discovered sending out spam after a web attack managed to compromise smart gadgets.

The fridge was one of more than 100,000 devices used to take part in the spam campaign.

Uncovered by security firm Proofpoint the attack compromised computers, home routers, media PCs and smart TV sets.

The attack is believed to be one of the first to exploit the lax security on devices that are part of the “internet of things”.
Poor protection

The spam attack took place between 23 December 2013 and 6 January this year, said Proofpoint in a statement. In total, it said, about 750,000 messages were sent as part of the junk mail campaign. The emails were routed through the compromised gadgets.

About 25% of the messages seen by Proofpoint researchers did not pass through laptops, desktops or smartphones, it said. “

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