China is well known (accused) for its hacking and spying ways, but who would have thought that the country would go this far? (The NSA, probably, because I wouldn’t doubt if they did the same — but lets not get off topic here.) Apparently, China is planting microchips in kettles and irons that scans for Wi-Fi devices for the sole purpose of sending out malware. These devices are basically network intelligent and are a perfect tool for cyber criminals — or intelligence agencies — to infiltrate networks.
Not only can these consumer devices be used to send out malware, they can also be used to send spam messages to various computer devices nearby for cyber espionage.
Now, if you’re wondering if this is actually real, well, it appears so from our eyes. A Russian state-owned channel that goes by the name Rossiya 24, showed several images of an iron included in a batch of Chinese imports. Inside the iron, the operator found a chip designed for spying on the surrounding environment.
All microchips were equipped with tiny microphones. Furthermore, the chips are capable of connecting to a computer within a 200 meter radius and unprotected Wi-Fi networks. See folks? These are one of the reasons why you should always protect your Wi-Fi network with a password. The numbers 1,2,3,4,5 will work just fine; I mean, who’s going to figure that out?
It isn’t clear who is behind the spy chips. It could be the Chinese government, Chinese intelligence agencies, Chinese companies, or Chinese criminals. Regardless, it is happening and it looks like the Russians were a little to late the party where these Chinese appliances are concerned. Several batches have already been sent to retailers in St Petersburg, while only the last batch was apprehended.
Next time you attempt to buy Chinese, you might want to think twice. And I’m sure the same can be said for pretty much any country that has the means and knowledge for digital espionage.
[via The Hacker News]