Infotainment

Now hackers can steal your ID and bank details from a coffee machine!

May 19 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 5/19/2019 12:39:47 PM IST

 A cyber security expert has predicted a surge in hackers stealing people’s personal information and bank details through coffee machines and smart TVs in their homes.

Vince Steckler, chief executive of security giant Avast, also said he refused to use instant messaging service WhatsApp on his phone because he believed it would put the privacy of his friends at risk.

New ‘smart’ coffee machines can be connected to the internet to allow homeowners to control them remotely using their phones. Users can even give the machines vocal commands if they are connected to virtual assistant software such as Amazon’s Alexa.

Home appliances are increasingly being connected to each other in what is known as the ‘internet-of-things’. This allows the devices to be controlled remotely and to perform services such as ordering groceries when they run low in the fridge.

But speaking to The Mail on Sunday at the VivaTech summit in Paris, Mr Steckler said the devices were not secure, meaning hackers could access them and use them to target other devices such as laptops and mobile phones and then get hold of personal data such as credit card details. Mr Steckler, 60, said smart TVs were ‘trivial to take over for ransom’ and that cameras and baby monitors connected to the internet were the most vulnerable devices.

The American compared the threat to the cyber attack on US retail giant Target in 2013, when hackers accessed the credit card details of 41 million shoppers by accessing the network through the company’s air conditioning system.

Mr Steckler also revealed he did not use WhatsApp, the smartphone messaging app owned by Facebook, because of concerns about privacy. It follows an attack on WhatsApp which allowed hackers to take control of phones just by calling them through the app.

Mr Steckler said: ‘How many people ask permission of family and friends before they share their details with WhatsApp? Everyone thinks privacy is really important but most people’s behaviour is not that way. You willingly share information with Facebook, you willingly let Google know everyone about you because the value that you think you’re getting in exchange is worth giving up your privacy or your friends’ privacy.’

 (Jamie Nimmo for The Mail on Sunday)

 

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