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I’m So Excited to Precision-Cook My Meat While Also Attacking Websites Around the World

Photo: Zero Creatives GmbH/Getty Images/Westend61

After months and months of hovering my mouse cursor over the “Add to Cart” button, I finally bit the bullet and ordered a sous-vide circulator on Amazon today. Fantastic. I am very much looking forward to the tender meats and soft-boiled eggs that this device will help me cook, as well as to the malicious botnet that the sous-vide cooker will join shortly after I turn it on.

See, the device, I discovered after ordering it, also has Wi-Fi built in, I guess that so when I’m sitting on my fat butt I can just use an app or something to tell it to stop cooking? How extremely convenient — both for me and the Ukrainian teenagers who will soon be using my internet-connected cooking device to shut down websites without my knowledge.

Because I didn’t just buy a sous-vide circulator, I also bought what could very likely turn into a new zombie member of a botnet nobody knows about yet. (A botnet, to refresh your memory, is a group of many disparate internet-enabled computers whose security has been remotely compromised, enabling hackers to network them together and use their combined power for nefarious purposes.)

I do not actually know that my sous-vide circulator will be hacked remotely in order to power a Low Orbit Ion Cannon (popular software for launching a distributed denial-of-service attack used to take websites off the internet temporarily), but if it did happen, I would not be surprised. Oftentimes, the computers — usually very primitive computers of the kind found in security cameras, smart-home light bulbs, and cooking appliances — function normally while these processes run in the background. Perhaps my precision cooker will be attacking a major DNS server while I poach a perfect egg. Or maybe it will help take down a dissident forum as I prepare a cut of steak for the grill. The possibilities are endless.

This is how my brain works now — if something can connect to my router and it’s not running software made by a major tech company, I assume that it’s going to be compromised. Yet I still own these devices — I am part of the problem. Now, every time I go to cook a delicious meal, I’m gonna plug in the sous-vide circulator, connect it to my Wi-Fi, and imagine that somewhere on the other side of the globe, a server has spontaneously combusted because I wanted to cook my steak medium-rare from edge to edge by using an app on my phone.

I’m so excited for my sous-vide cooker, the last device I’ll buy before hackers use it to take out the Eastern Seaboard’s electrical grid and send us back to the Stone Age.

I’m So Excited to Join a Botnet