Definition

thingbot

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A thingbot is something with an embedded system and an Internet connection that has been coopted by a hacker to become part of a botnet of networked things.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a scenario in which objects and entities are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to automatically transfer data over a network. A thing, in this context, could be a dedicated computing device such as a PC, notebook, smartphone or tablet, or almost anything else. A thingbot might be coopted to send spam or malware or to host illicit content, all without the knowledge of the owner. 

In December 2013 a researcher at Proofpoint, an enterprise security firm, discovered that hundreds of thousands of spam emails were being logged through a security gateway. Proofpoint traced the attacks to a botnet made up of 100,000 hacked appliances. 

Dan Raymond explains how an Internet of Things botnet sent spam via refrigerators and televisions.

 

See also: IoT security

This was last updated in January 2014

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