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News

Java beans and coffee beans don't mix well on corporate networks

Tier-3 : 19 June, 2008  (Technical Article)
Australian report of network security flaws coming to light after hooking coffee percolator to the net demonstrates risk of unsecured passive network devices being connected to the internet
Tier-3 says that the amusing tale of an Australian IT security specialist who discovered a number of security flaws after he hooked his coffee percolator up to the Web, has a warning message to all Internet users.

'This security situation is an all too common one and, as the security specialist found, the flaws in the coffee-maker had not been patched by the vendor, despite the fact that the Jura F90 percolator is marketed as fully Internet-compatible,' said Geoff Sweeney, CTO of the behavioural analysis IT security company.

'Making the coffee too weak is a problem that can easily be fixed, but if a security flaw allows a remote hacker to take over your desktop PC, then you have a real problem on your hands,' he added.

According to Sweeney, the message from Craig Wright's experience with his Internet-enabled coffee-maker is that Internet users should be careful before hooking up the most benign of Internet-enabled devices to the office network, as there may be unknown security flaws lurking and waiting to be discovered.

'IT security isn't all about computers, servers and networks. It's about any network-connected device, even something as mundane as a coffee percolator. The Internet is now so pervasive that you are going to see a lot more office devices, including, printers, PDAs, Smart Phones, coffee-makers and even fridges, capable of being hooked up to the corporate network and the Net,' he said.

'This is quite an amusing story, but carries a clear message for IT Managers that to deal with the new era of pervasive network enabled devices they need to install behavioural analysis IT security technology to detect and lock down any unauthorised hacker incursions in real time, whether or not they came directly or indirectly via his coffee-maker,' he added.

The moral of this story, says Sweeney, is to always review your IT security protection systems in the light of a constantly evolving - and changing - systems landscape.
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