Your refrigerator probably hasn't joined a botnet


I don’t think that family has enough huge joints of meat in their fridge.

If their ice box was net-connected it could send a telex to the local grocer to send more roasts.

P.S. The door on the left has a special banana compartment.

Just look at it.


But bananas like the climate of the very very tropical equator. So you should never put bananas in your refrigerator. Oh no no no.


The latest in botnet malware that has exploited recent critical web library vulnerabilities on the an important web server, the command servers were directing the server to flood UDP packets conveniently run on the operational hours of China. Unfortunately for me, the fixes broke backwards compatibility and I have been losing sleep. So… is your refrigerator not spamming at 2am, and will the average user notice? I’m sure high quality companies like Comcast will be up to the support task.

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My family always kept most of our produce in the fridge, which my wife finds vexing since her family maintains that fruits lose too much of their flavor after refrigeration. All I know is that our room-temperature produce gets thrown out a lot more than it did in my childhood home, but even my apple-chilling parents knew to never refrigerate the bananas.


Well, the general idea IS an issue. Not just the fridge, but many, many more devices are carrying embedded systems now. I won’t call out an specific company here…but, think about cars. Embedded systems, bluetooth-enabled, lacking security features. How dangerous could that get? Way, WAY dangerous! And, as self-parking and self-navigation become more mainstream, such issues are going to become very, very important to us all.

You don’t have to take anything in that particular article as credible to see that the possibilities are nearly endless. Mere spambots are nothing, compared to the kinds of exploits that could be carried out. And, I predict that they WILL be carried out, because that’s the nature of the technology. There was a point in time, before personal computing was available, that we knew that virtually every abuse we are seeing of this technology to day could be possible. We didn’t take it TOO seriously at the time, because that was all futuristic stuff, right? This is not much different, except that we now have that earlier (and, God help us all!) present computing experience to draw on. I had mentioned a major beverage company that wanted to equip its dispensers with facial recognition systems, if you can believe. Is that possible? Absolutely. Could that beverage dispenser spam your laptop? Sure, if not secured properly. Could it nuke a Middle Eastern country? Probably not…but you never know. Maybe, I’d just want to rig it to tell me when you are there…


I know I should be concerned with the modern technical implications…

But the '50’s picture is…incredible: yes, the ham collection and sad banana jail…the crown of ribs and the pineapple cake…but all those jars of ‘milk’…in the style of glass bottle that ‘the milkman’ was supposed to deliver fresh daily…

Why are these people hoarding milk?!?

Didn’t they realize any significant Eastern Block nuclear strike would create an EMP rendering their precious cold storage device Useless?! Never mind the radioactive poisons that would seep into said dairy products…to say nothing of the cured meats! What folly! What hubris! what…is wrong with me…I need to not watch The Road before bedtime, that’s what: Goodnight.


Tomatoes - that’s where my partner goes wrong. It sucks the flavour out and replaces it with a crispness that a tomato was never meant to have.

Never refrigerate a tomato. Not even once.

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I’ve long held suspicions about my toaster. Funny, I can’t quite put them into words.


This article is stupid journalist sensationalism at its worst. You are just trying to scare people.

Yes, appliances can communicate with the internet - so what? This will not lead to a Terminator-style future.

A lot of good is done through Cloud and Grid computing (eg “World Community Grid”), where devices of all types, with their owner’s permission can take part in socially positive activities such as medical research to cure cancer, DNA matching and synthetic lab testing.

Think about it - this year, we award the Nobel prize to Matthew Bennett’s fridge!

Lets try to tell the positivies to this story please, and keep the story balanced, BoingBoing.

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New here? Yes, I think so. Let’s do a little more reading, get some of the jokes, sarcasm and layers that go on around here before you try to tell “BoingBoing” what to do. mmmmK? :slight_smile:


Nope. This article has made it onto the Google news feed, so a bit of fun On this site could well freak people not so tech-savvy out. Please therefore put a balanced view forward.

“In other cases, the researchers determined the devices were connected directly to the Internet rather than through a router” lolwut they’re just plugged straight into the series of tubes, huh?

And while it’s true that bananas should never go in the refrigerator, frozen bananas are excellent and useful for many things. They don’t stay yellow like that in there though.

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Am I being overly cynical when I say that Proofpoint’s “threat research” is yet another example of an industry which is at best disingenuous in its methods, and at worst borderline criminal? I almost surprised they don’t try to install something onto my machine when I view their home page. The conflict of interest potential in the whole idea of companies that sell you “protection” from “threats” that are never quite verifiable is strong in this one. The English have a word for them: spivs.


Chocolate covered frozen bananas.

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The article is titled “You refrigerator probably hasn’t joined a botnet” and is specifically about how third party reports of appliances joining botnets are highly questionable , sensational, and not to be trusted. What, precisely, is your complaint?


If there’s one thing science fiction has taught us, it’s that strong AI in everyday devices is rarely a great combination.


No. Not overly cynical. Not cynical at all, and downright naive. I have access to the tops in the embedded system field. Discussion reveals that private industry is NOT building any safeguards into those systems. In many cases, they aren’t securing them at all. They are in a big, big hurry to sell you fancy stuff, and don’t even bother to think about any security issues. Will the guys selling you protection make a mint off your fears? They sure will! Whether they actually provide that protection is a whole other debate. What are you gonna do, if I can access your ride’s control systems in the middle of a freeway at 85 mph? what are you gonna do if somebody tosses a pi device on top of an explosive and uses the drink dispenser to blow somebody else’s very specific ass to high heaven while you just happen to be sitting nearby? Did you think that recognition system on the drink dispenser wasn’t going to be enabled to send marketing data back to that corporate office? If corporate can access it? So can somebody wishing to hack it. Because, those corporate guys know just about as much about the tech as you do. And that’s gonna be a problem.

Did you even read the post, in which he disagrees with the ‘scary’ premise?

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Ah good. Always nice to know I’m not being cynical.