Over the period stretching from Dec. 23, 2013 to Jan. 6, 2014, a group of hackers used malware installed on over 100,000 devices to send out 750,000 virus-bearing spam emails. Botnets like this are nothing new. What raised eyebrows was that many of the devices in question weren’t computers or even smartphones. The culprits were things that most people didn’t think were even capable of getting infected—televisions, home entertainment centers, and even a refrigerator.
When cybersecurity firm Proofpoint revealed evidence of the attack early last year, it served as a serious wake-up call. Virtually anything connected to the Internet has the potential of being hacked, no matter how unlikely.