It sounds more like science fiction than reality, but Swiss newspapers Argauer Zeitung reports that approx Three million smart toothbrushes were stolen by hackers To launch a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. These harmless bathroom gadgets — transformed into soldiers in a botnet army — knocked out a Swiss company for hours, causing millions of euros in damage.
No, we’re not kidding.
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Although details are scarce, we do know that the compromised toothbrushes were running Java, a popular language for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Once infected, a global network of infected toothbrushes launches their successful attack.
Re-used toothbrushes flood Swiss websites with fake traffic, effectively knocking offline services and causing widespread disruption.
This episode underscores the growing threat landscape as IoT becomes increasingly embedded in our daily lives. The “smart” toothbrush is now 10 years old. Devices that once seemed innocuous and disconnected from the digital ecosystem are now potential entry points for cybercriminals. The implications are huge, not only for personal privacy and security, but also for national infrastructure and economic stability.
Stefan Züger, as director of systems engineering at the security company’s Swiss office Fortinet“Every device connected to the Internet is a potential target – or can be misused for an attack,” he said.
Anyone paying close attention to cyber security has known about this threat for years. As James Clapper, former US Director of National Intelligence, told us in 2016: “The device, designed and fielded Minimum security requirements and testing, and an increasing complexity of networks could lead to widespread vulnerabilities in civilian infrastructure and US government systems.”
It no longer “can’t.” We now live in homes full of unsecured IoT devices.
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Why? As Mark Houpt, data center operator data The chief information security officer, explained, is because many IoT devices are inherently insecure for two key reasons: Negligence and lack of an interface on which to add security and hardening measures. I mean, how exactly do you control your toothbrush’s security settings? How do you add an antivirus program to your refrigerator?
so what to be able to do you
Well, for starters, as Jugger says, you can automatically update all your devices whenever an update is available “You can’t update enough.”
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Also you should never charge your device in a public USB port. The same port that charges your gadget can also infect it.
I recommend paying attention if your device suddenly starts losing power faster than usual. Of course, it could just be an aging battery, but it could also be malware running in the background.
You should also be wary of public Wi-Fi connections. The same connection that lets you watch a TikTok is loading malware onto your smartphone.
While you are at home, I request you to set up a firewall on your internet connection If an attacker can’t get into your smart toilet, it can’t infect it. And, boy, isn’t a malware-infected toilet an ugly thought?
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Finally — and I’m serious about this — don’t buy IoT-enabled devices unless you really need to. A smart TV? Of course, how are you going to stream the Super Bowl? But a washing machine, an iron, a toothbrush? No. Just say no.
As we move into an increasingly connected future, let’s make sure our digital hygiene is as strong as our dental hygiene.