Phish this: hackers try to break into casino via its smart fish tank

  • It has been reported that hackers attempted to rob a casino through its fish tank
  • The audacious heist attempt saw would be thieves try to hack ‘smart’ fish tank

In what sounds like a plot from a movie, hackers are reported to have gained entry to a casino via an unorthodox route – its fish tank.

casino fish tank hackers
Gone phishing: would be hackers attempted to gain entry to the casino’s data via its fish tank

According to security firm Darktrace, the rogue actors took phishing to a whole new level after attempting to infiltrate the casino through its smart fish tank.

Audacious attempted heist

There have been numerous reports in the past year of hackers compromising devices connected to the Internet of Things, usually to turn these so-called smart devices into bots they can control. IoT devices are known for their weak security and are far easier to infiltrate than conventional computer systems.

If the claim by Darktrace is accurate, it has to go down as one of the most audacious attempted heists yet, a digital Ocean’s Eleven that could have removed millions from the account of the North American casino in question.

The hackers allegedly got pretty far too, successfully infiltrating the systems of the smart fish tank and getting it to send data to a device they controlled in Finland before the breach was discovered.

“Someone used the fish tank to get into the network, and once they were in the fish tank, they scanned and found other vulnerabilities and moved laterally to other places in the network,” said Darktrace director Justin Feir, speaking to CNN Tech. IoT devices are seen as a weak link in systems security and while the devices themselves don’t protect critical infrastructure, they provide a potential on-ramp to a company’s network. Once inside there, the malicious possibilities are endless.

No money stolen, no fish were harmed

In assessing its security, the casino would have considered possible weak points, both digital and physical, but it’s doubtful they ever contemplated an internet-connected fish tank becoming the target of determined hackers.

As the number of devices connected to the internet of things continues to balloon – by 2020 it’s projected to be a €250 billion industry – stories like these could very well become commonplace. In a world in which everything is connected, everything is considered fair game for infiltration by hackers, be it a baby monitor, a washing machine or a fish tank.

Casinos will need to be alert to the threats presented by IoT devices on their network. Thankfully, this particular episode ended happily. No casino funds were stolen and no fish were harmed in the ingenious attack.

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