Millions of smart toothbrushes used in botnet attack on company

According to Swiss newspaper Aargauer Zeitung, a company was knocked offline by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack unleashed by a botnet of three million smart toothbrushes. As William Gibson famously said, "The street finds its own uses for things."

Details are vague but warnings around the cybersecurity (or lack thereof) of Internet of Things devices have abounded for more than a decade. Apparently the toothbrushes, running Java, were infected with malware. Hackers then used the devices to create a vast network of WiFi-connected computers that overwhelmed the target company's Website with requests.

"Every device that is connected to the Internet is a potential target – or can be misused for an attack," says system engineer director Stefan Zuger of cybersecurity company Fortinet.

UPDATE Travis Anderson of Fortinet sent the following statement:

"To clarify, the topic of toothbrushes being used for DDoS attacks was presented during an interview as an illustration of a given type of attack, and it is not based on research from Fortinet or FortiGuard Labs. It appears that due to translations the narrative on this topic has been stretched to the point where hypothetical and actual scenarios are blurred."