Unfortunately it’s no joke.
It’s simply the obvious question to ask after reading the latest research from Proofpoint In this research, they analyzed how SPAM attacks were occurring, and found that 25% of the malicious emails did not come from “computers”, but rather from internet-connected devices like routers, TVs, even a refrigerator was used. Yes, there are now internet-connected refrigerators that are capable of sending email, and someone thought that it could be a useful thing to launch an attack with.
Just because these devices are being used for nefarious purposes doesn’t even necessarily mean that they’ve been hacked and infected with viruses. Proofpoint believes that many of these gadgets “have open telnet, open SSH and an SMTP (aka “email”) servers,” which means that, rather than an exploit or viral infection, the hack was accomplished by cracking the default user and password login, then setting up “the existing emailer to send or relay malicious email.”
The worst part about all of this is that since these are Internet of Things devices, it is very unlikely that they’ll ever have their firmware updated and will continue to send SPAM for years to come.