If you have this thing plugged into your wall, hackers may be able to read your emails

If you have this thing plugged into your wall, hackers may be able to read your emails
Source: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

Plugging a "smart" socket into your house may be the perfect Trojan horse for hackers. 

According to researchers at anti-virus company Bitdefender, there's a certain smart plug with serious security flaws. The device isn't encrypted, it's "susceptible to malicious firmware updates" and it uses "weak default passwords" — which the company neglected to warn its users should be changed for heightened security, ZDNet reported. 

For the uninitiated, a smart plug is an "Internet of Things" device that plugs into your outlet to monitor your energy consumption and automate your home by acting as a hub for your other internet-connected devices. 

The researchers didn't specify in which device it discovered these security flaws, just that it was an "electrical outlet currently on the market." So if you have recently plugged one of these smart suckers into your walls, consider changing your password.

What do these security flaws mean? According to Bitdefender, it makes your entire connected home vulnerable to hackers, allowing an attacker to access the device itself as well as all the other ones connected to it on the same network. 

"One of the most destructive actions an attacker can take is to rip off the existing software and plant malicious software in its place," Bitdefender researcher George Cabau told ZDNet. "For users, the consequences can extend to losing control of all their network-connected devices as they become weapons of attack in a cyber-criminal network, as well as to exposing their email accounts and their contents."

Yep — thanks to a poorly secured smart plug, your precious, once-private emails are now at a hacker's fingertips. And if you went wild with the smart home accessories, the aforementioned mystery plug could be a means to a hacker controlling your lights, coffeemaker, toaster, thermostat — and the beat goes on.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Melanie Ehrenkranz

Melanie is a writer covering technology and the future. She can be reached at melanie@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Zion Harvey, youngest recipient of double hand transplant, can now swing a baseball bat

After about 50 years and more than 100 patients undergoing surgery, doctors have found success with a double hand transplant.

Scientists are developing the hologram of the future — and the tech behind it is fascinating

Pretty soon, holograms will look the same from every angle and have more vibrant, realistic colors.

Elon Musk just announced "approval" for a hyperloop that would zip you from NY to DC in 29 minutes

Reality is going to make Musk’s plans more complicated than he might think.

The mind-blowing mechanics behind the Sun's corona — and what role it plays in a total solar eclipse

The corona is one of the sun's hottest regions — and it'll be on full display come Aug. 21.

NASA just released hundreds of incredible space videos — here are our 5 favorites

Watch space history unfold before your eyes.

You'll definitely notice the solar eclipse August 21, no matter where in the U.S. you are

Sure, seeing totality would be nice — but don't despair yet.

Zion Harvey, youngest recipient of double hand transplant, can now swing a baseball bat

After about 50 years and more than 100 patients undergoing surgery, doctors have found success with a double hand transplant.

Scientists are developing the hologram of the future — and the tech behind it is fascinating

Pretty soon, holograms will look the same from every angle and have more vibrant, realistic colors.

Elon Musk just announced "approval" for a hyperloop that would zip you from NY to DC in 29 minutes

Reality is going to make Musk’s plans more complicated than he might think.

The mind-blowing mechanics behind the Sun's corona — and what role it plays in a total solar eclipse

The corona is one of the sun's hottest regions — and it'll be on full display come Aug. 21.

NASA just released hundreds of incredible space videos — here are our 5 favorites

Watch space history unfold before your eyes.

You'll definitely notice the solar eclipse August 21, no matter where in the U.S. you are

Sure, seeing totality would be nice — but don't despair yet.