F-Secure: Denial-of-service attacks launched by toasters

The data security director of Finland's largest cyber security and privacy company warns that high-tech household appliances are being exploited to carry out crippling cyber-attacks.

F-Secure's Chief Information Security Officer Erka Koivunen Image: Yle

F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer Erka Koivunen warns that a record number of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks have been made this year, many of which have originated from Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as home appliances such as toasters.

”Some home appliances are computers these days. They’re connected directly to the internet, for reasons that don't even make sense,” Koivunen said on Yle TV1 on Friday.

These types of attacks are carried out on such a large scale that they affect major cloud service providers, he notes.

”It's indicative of their scale that the world’s largest cloud service providers who are targeted by (DDoS) attacks must consider moving their services offline rather trying to defend them,” says Koivunen.

Password guidance

Koivunen says that the guidelines regarding creating passwords have also changed.

”A former colleague once told me that a password should be changed to something very vulgar, something that you wouldn’t feel comfortable revealing to a colleague or family member. Now you might want to reconsider that,” he says.

He says that users should expect that their passwords may someday be revealed, noting that this has even happened to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. His password turned out to be "dadada".

"That [password] will be linked to your identity, so think about what kind of image you want to have," advises Koivunen.

Despite recent waves of news about hacking, he is still relatively optimistic when it comes to online security.

”For example, this year Facebook’s instant messaging service has adopted very strong encryption, which even most intelligence services probably can't hack into," he says.