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.