Life is becoming more convenient as more and more everyday things get connected to the web, but cybersecurity is also becoming a bigger issue.
Now, sources are saying that there are a lot of hackers online who have their eyes set on targeting internet-connected gas pumps.
Hackers Target Gas Pumps
The team discovered that a lot of users in Russian underground forums are asking for more information on how to hack gas pumps. Tutorials are available on commercial pumps, including the ones with programmable logic controllers that are often used to help manage equipment remotely.
Gas pump hacking also reportedly comes up frequently in Portuguese underground forums, where in-depth tutorials are shared on hacking gas pumps.
ZDNet noted that it's possible that these gas pumps are being hacked to get cheaper prices. However, hacking could also easily use gas pumps for more destructive activities.
"There are a number of additional threat scenarios that could possibly play out," Bharat Mistry, principal security strategist at Trend Micro, explained. "This includes reconnaissance to find out the delivery schedule, extortion that involves blocking the owner's access in exchange for a certain sum, and even sabotaging the gas pump by adjusting tank limits so that it overflows."
Learn To Protect Yourself, Your Business
Mistry encouraged operators of gas pumps and similarly vulnerable devices to consider using features like VPN to encrypt traffic. Mutual authentication, where the user and device validate each other before operations, is also recommended.
Additionally, Mistry said that it's important to update and patch software regularly. A manual override must also be ready at all times, just in case the machine gets compromised at any point.
For households and personal devices, protection is just as important.
Danny Palmer, who wrote the article on ZDNet, told CBS News that hackers can sneak into poorly-protected internet-enabled devices and steal sensitive information. One of the things that he recommends is to always change the default passwords of internet-connected gadgets. VPNs are also a must for home networks.
"If there's a really cheap appliance from a company you've never heard of, you might want to question whether that's a good idea, buying that in the first place," Palmer warned.