China may be spying through software embedded in coffee maker, warns expert

Edited By: Rustam Roy
Washington Updated: Jun 16, 2022, 01:01 AM(IST)

The report said several coffee machines from China integrated 'voice recognition' Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The report said IoT devices are not generally covered by 'security patches' and internet connections in machines with information on 'address, customer identification and organisation name provides the ability to locate coffee machines with high degrees of precision.'

According to a report, China may be using Internet of Things (IoT) software inside smart coffee makers to collect data.

American researcher Christopher Balding in a report said "coffee machine data may seem rather mundane but as with many aspects of data risks exist in how the data is used".

Balding said "even mundane data from coffee makers can prove risky in the hands of an adversarial state."

Also Read: Chinese national in US steals agricultural tech, pleads guilty to economic espionage

The report explained payment data can be considered "sensitive information" including customer information such as time and location data which provides usage type and physical location.

The report said several machines from China integrated "voice recognition" allowing users to recognise a user's voice commands while cautioning that it could raise an "additional significant layer of security concerns if Chinese firms collected voice data from non-Chinese users".

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Balding said IoT devices are not generally covered by "security patches" and internet connections in machines with information on "address, customer identification and organisation name provides the ability to locate coffee machines with high degrees of precision."

The report said due to a lack of clarity on data privacy, storage and processing of coffee machines it presents a major privacy risk.

"All evidence indicates their machines can and do collect data on users outside mainland China and store the data
in China," it said while adding,"the data is collected at the point of operation from software embedded in the coffee maker."

(With inputs from Agencies)

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