Can hackers break your washing machine?

May 23, 2024  20:18

Hackers today can hack not only smartphones and computers, but also other devices, including household appliances such as washing machines. Let's try to figure out how this is possible and what consequences such a hack could have.

To be fair, directly hacking a washing machine to control the water temperature or the spin cycle is still impossible, at least for now. But attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in smart washing machines connected to the Internet.

What can hackers achieve by hacking a washing machine?

  • Network penetration. A hacked washing machine can become a gateway for hackers to access your home network. Thus, they can steal personal information from other connected devices or launch attacks against other devices connected to the network.
  • Hackers can gain control of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including washing machines, to create groups of compromised devices called botnets. These networks of compromised devices can be used to launch large-scale DDoS attacks or distribute malware.
  • Data theft. Some washing machines may store data about your usage habits or preferences. Hackers could potentially steal this data and sell it to marketing firms or use it for targeted advertising.
  • Remote control (limited). While hackers are unlikely to be able to directly control the wash cycle, in theory they could exploit vulnerabilities to disrupt functionality or render the machine unusable.

How can you ensure the safety of washing machines connected to the network?

  • Update the firmware. Update your washing machine's firmware regularly with the latest security patches to address vulnerabilities.
  • Secure network. Use a strong password for your Wi-Fi network and turn on network encryption (WPA2 or WPA3).
  • Limited connectivity. Consider whether your smart washing machine really needs an internet connection. Disconnecting it from Wi-Fi may eliminate the potential security risk.
  • Use a firewall. Install a firewall on your home network to add an extra layer of security.

These precautions will help significantly reduce the risk of your smart washing machine being hacked.

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