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Thermostat hacking is real and terrifying

A presentation at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas revealed that the "Internet of things" might turn your home into a hacker's paradise. The "Internet of things," in case you haven't been following my coverage, is a move by many companies to connect home necessities like your stove, alarm and climate control systems to the Internet.

The presentation targeted Nest, a "smart" thermostat that detects when you're home and adjusts the temperature based on your preferences. Nest also saves you money by using its sensors to detect when you're not home.

Daniel Buentello along with four co-presenters had many issues with security holes in the Nest, specifically that it is a "computer that the user can't put an antivirus on." The big worry is that statement is true of any "smart" gadget coming to your home in the near future.

“If I were a bad guy, I would tunnel all of your traffic through me, sniffing for any kind of credentials like credit cards,” Buentello said. “That’s horrible because if you have a computer, it crashes and you take it to Best Buy. How the hell will you know your thermostat is infected? You won’t.”

Most people don't think of the stuff that companies are adding to the "Internet of things" as computers, and hackers will undoubtedly exploit that. This isn't just fringe companies, either. Apple is bringing the "Internet of things" home, and you can check out how the company is doing it by clicking here.

Learn more about a future where your appliances can be hacked and turn on you.

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