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3 Million Electric Toothbrushes Hacked

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Recent headlines claimed that 3 million electric toothbrushes were hacked to conduct a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, sparking widespread attention. Yet, this story, interesting as it may seem, is not supported by facts. 

Debunked: 

The report originated from a Swiss news outlet, suggesting these toothbrushes had been compromised with malware. However, no evidence supports this claim. The cybersecurity firm that was cited as the story’s source, has not verified the incident. This narrative likely emerged from a hypothetical scenario rather than an actual event. 

Understanding DDoS Attacks on IoT Devices 

If the story about the electric toothbrushes being hacked for a DDoS attack were true, it would follow a pattern familiar in many IoT device compromises. DDoS attacks work by overwhelming a target’s online services with so much traffic that they become inaccessible. Here’s how the process typically unfolds: 

  1. Scanning for devices with weak security measures, such as default passwords or known vulnerabilities. 
  2. Gaining control by exploiting these security gaps. 
  3. Installing malware to remotely commandeer the device. 
  4. Linking compromised devices into a botnet (a network of infected devices controlled by a hacker). 
  5. Directing the botnet to flood a target with traffic, disrupting its services. 

How to Keep Your IoT Devices Safe 

  • Always keep device software and any related apps updated to guard against the latest threats. 
  • Choose strong, unique passwords for both your device accounts and Wi-Fi networks. Avoid sticking with the default passwords that come with your devices. 
  • Think about whether each device really needs to be connected to the internet. Sometimes, the convenience isn’t worth the risk. 
  • Protect your Wi-Fi network with strong encryption (like WPA3) and consider setting up a separate network just for your IoT devices to keep them isolated from your main network.

If you’re interested in learning more about the world of IoT devices and understanding how to secure them effectively, be sure to check out our comprehensive IoT guide. 

For Businesses Making IoT Devices 

Our focus is on IoT Penetration Testing, a service for businesses developing IoT devices. By engaging in this testing early in the development process, we identify and address security vulnerabilities, ensuring these devices are protected against cyberattacks before they reach consumers.  

Reflecting on IoT Security 

The story of hacked electric toothbrushes, though not real, makes us think about the security of IoT devices. It’s not enough to be aware; we need to actively protect our devices. For those creating IoT technology, making security a priority from the start is key. This way, we can enjoy the perks of smart devices without worrying about our digital safety. 

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji is the CEO of Gridware, a leading cybersecurity consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. An emerging thought leader in cybersecurity, Ahmed is an Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and regularly contributes to cybersecurity conversations in Australia. As well as his extensive background as a security advisor to large Australian Enterprises, he is a regular keynote speaker and guest lecturer on offensive cybersecurity topics and blockchain.

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