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Lumpy milk and exploding yoghurt? Your fridge could be riddled with MALWARE

Security bod predicts future where virus writers steal your lunch

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Antivirus guru AVG is preparing for a future where even fridges and freezers are targeted by malware, the firm's chief operating officer has said.

In an interview with El Reg, John Giamatteo said AVG was keeping an open mind about where the next big malware threats were going to come from. It has already shifted its focus from the PC market towards mobile and tablet security software, but sees white goods as well as the wider internet of things as possible areas for expansion. The vulnerability of web-connected devices to malware has already been the subject of a keynote by Vint Cerf at RSA. There are already web-connected fridges on the market, so who knows, it may already have happened.

The firm is riding high on the back of the PRISM scandal, which has boosted the security sector by showing the public "how exposed" they are to online threats.

On the back of global concerns about NSA surveillance, AVG has increased its user base by about a quarter, from 121 million in June last year to 155 million. This growth has also been driven by the "explosive" level of demand for mobile security apps that work on smartphones or tablets, which accounts for 44 million of the total number of users.

Giamatteo said: "The PC market is very mature, but we are seeing strong growth on tablets, smartphones and connected devices like cars. Earlier in the year, we signed a partnership with Renault which resulted in us providing our security portfolio for use in their intelligent smart cars.

"This is the sort of thing we will see more and more. Smart TVs, as they become ever more interconnected, are an area for growth. If you go to Korea, there are interconnected fridges and freezers. We are very much on the forefront of that and will look to get a fair share of the market. The sky's the limit."

He added: "Wherever there is a connected device in the the connected home, we’ll be there."

The COO said the PRISM scandal had been "helpful" for AVG and the wider security industry, as it raised awareness of privacy issues and the potential damage malware could wreak upon consumers' lives.

"It certainly increased awareness for people, who realised through being exposed to what was going on that there was a need for some sort of service to protect themselves. It has been helpful in the sense that it really raised awareness."

In September, AVG will release a product which will allow users to control the privacy and security of all their devices at once, using a "dashboard" system. All AVG's current software is being updated with this new system in mind.

AVG has also released results showing it had a strong quarter. Revenue for the second quarter of 2013 was $100.4 million, compared with $82.5 million in the second quarter of 2012, representing an increase of 22 percent.

Warnings about white goods viruses have been knocking about for a while. More than a decade ago, The Register warned that malware could make your fridge fling its doors open in the middle of the night, potentially playing havoc with the temperature of breakfast-time milk. Luckily, just like the Millennium Bug, the grim prophecy has not yet come to pass.

Click here to see a Tumblr page dedicated to internet fridges (and be prepared for a few swears).

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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