When coffee makers attack: Hacking the Internet of Things (IoT)

Alex, I'll take "Things I never thought I would write about" for $500. A network security researcher has successfully hacked a coffee machine and was able to take control of it, make it beep constantly, have it refuse to make coffee, and spill water all over.

Yes, you read that correctly. You can buy a coffee machine that connects to the Internet so that you can use an app on your phone to make coffee. Why, I have no idea, because you still have to put water and coffee in it to, you know, "make coffee."

I suppose there is some very weak argument for being able to stay in bed and turn the coffee maker on with your phone, but as I say, that's a weak argument, since most coffee makers that cost more than $10 have a timer so you can set it to turn on in the morning.

Aside from the pure insanity of putting a single board computer in a coffee machine, the lack of security controls that the researcher found is unfortunately typical of many Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The coffee machine connects to your home WiFi network and then to the Internet so it can get updates (don't get me started on why a coffee machine needs "updates).

This hack was done on an older coffee maker, and the manufacturer has indicated the security has been improved on the device. But as more and more people add IoT devices into their home and office networks, the potential for mischief, innocuous and serious, just increases.