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Avast Says MWC 2017 Host Barcelona Has 493,000 Hackable Smart Devices

By Edge Ison , Feb 28, 2017 04:21 AM EST
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The potential for a cyber attack is high in Barcelona. In fact, security experts from Avast said that the Spanish nation is susceptible to an Internet of Things attack, thanks to millions of smart devices.

It's a common practice of Avast to do some thorough investigations during the Mobile World Congress. This year, the leading digital security company discovered that 5.3 million smart devices in Spain are vulnerable to a cyber attack. Included in that huge figure are the 493,000 devices, which include smart kettles, smart coffee machines and smart refrigerators, located in Barcelona alone.

Even more alarming is the fact that over 22,000 webcams and baby monitors can easily be hacked. This disturbing act has been happening for years now. Scour the internet and one will easily find videos of babies and young children taken through baby monitors. The possibility of government agencies spying on people through webcams has also been exposed by former CIA computer expert Edward Snowden.

Avast was able to come up with this conclusion with the help of Shodan, a connected objects search engine. As BBC noted, smart devices with outdated firmware and a known vulnerability are susceptible to such attacks. The same can happen with those that are streaming content to the internet in an unencrypted form.

According to Business Wire, the 2017 MWC is not safe from such offense. Hackers can compromise any smart device in the event particularly cameras. By doing so, these cyber criminals can witness the goings-on in the MWC and may even get to spy on some company secrets. Webcams that are set to live stream are the easiest targets for these hackers.

The biggest danger, however, is the possibility of a bot attack. Hijacked smart devices can be turned into a bot which could later become part of a wider botnet. If this is the case, the hacker can easily attack servers and eventually take down websites like what happened to Twitter, Amazon, Netflix and other major websites when Dyn was subjected to a series of DDoS attacks.

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