Hotpoint service sites hacked

Hotpoint’s UK service websites were hacked over the Easter weekend. For at least six days, the company’s UK and Republic of Ireland sites, which host repair advice and links to warranty forms, redirected customers to a variety of dubious websites.

As Netcraft first spotted, fake Java update dialogs started appearing on the company’s sites. Clicking on these links launched obfuscated JavaScript that could send the user a custom payload of malware.

It’s not yet clear how the hacker gained write-access to these files, but the WordPress content management system that the site runs on “is notorious for being compromised if both it and its plugins are not kept up to date”.

In February, a flaw in an add-on to the latest version of WordPress led to hackers defacing 1.5 million blogs.

A Hotpoint spokesman has confirmed its sites are now secure.

Perfectly timed attack

Hotpoint moved quickly to fix the hack, which – as Netcraft commented – was perfectly timed to land just before the long Easter weekend. With many sysadmins out of the office on both Good Friday and Easter Monday, it was at least four days before anyone was able to respond to the malicious code.

This coincided with the reported shopping splurge over the Easter weekend. Anyone who treated themselves to a new Hotpoint appliance will have received paperwork that directed them to the company’s service site to register their product and activate their warranty.

The attack will no doubt have affected many customers, but the good news, according to Hotpoint’s spokesman, is that: “We do not believe that any customer data was impacted, [and] consumer appliance registrations were redirected to a third site, which was not impacted by this event.

“Our team have subsequently taken a number of steps to further protect our websites to ensure there are additional security measures in place.”

This incident comes the same week as a petition to recall exploding tumble dryers made by Hotpoint, Creda, Indesit, Swan and Proline reached the required 100,000 signatures to be debated in parliament. Whirlpool, the manufacturer of all these brands, has been criticised for not doing enough to replace the defective dryers after first releasing a safety alert in November 2015.

Meanwhile, one wonders whether Hotpoint’s marketing team are starting to regret the title Hot Hacks for its BBC-fronted recipe blog.

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