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Non-Tech : Binary Hodgepodge

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To: Ron who wrote (6754)2/10/2024 2:59:59 PM
From: Ron   of 6760
 
Turns out the hacked toothbrush story was false, an urban legend: An update from Wired:

How 3 Million Hacked Toothbrushes Became a Cyber Urban Legend

Hackers have, in the real world, caused blackouts, set fire to a steel mill, and released worms that took down medical record systems in hospitals across the US and the UK. So it hardly seems necessary to invent new nightmares about them taking over our toothbrushes.

Yet, when the Swiss newspaper Aargauer Zeitung published a story that cybercriminals had infected 3 million internet-connected toothbrushes with malware, then used them to launch a cyberattack that downed a website for four hours and caused millions of dollars in damage, the tale was somehow irresistible. This week, news outlets around the world picked up the story, which quoted the cybersecurity firm Fortinet as its source, spinning it out as the perfect illustration of how hackers can exploit the most mundane technology for epic malevolence. “This example, which seems like a Hollywood scenario, actually happened,” the Swiss newspaper wrote.

Except, of course, it didn’t. Cybersecurity professionals quickly started to point out that the story was unsupported by any evidence—and was somewhat absurd on its face. (Even the Mirai botnet, which knocked out its targets with record-breaking tsunamis of junk traffic and eventually broke a large fraction of the internet, infected only 650,000 internet-connected devices at its peak.)

Fortinet belatedly sought to correct the record, writing in public statements that “it appears that due to translations the narrative on this topic has been stretched to the point where hypothetical and actual scenarios are blurred.” But the Aargauer Zeitung pointed the finger back at Fortinet, noting in a follow-up story that Fortinet provided exact details of the dental doomsday it described as real, and that the company even reviewed the text of the article prior to publication. Regardless of who’s to blame, at least this cyber urban legend has inspired some solid meme content.

wired.com
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