Internet-connected hot tubs can be hacked and controlled remotely

internet connected hot tubs balboa water group hacked 3205261408 1bffce5e7a b
Lars Plougmann/Flickr

Hot tubs are supposed to be a great way to relax, but that’s a little harder to do when you aren’t in control of them. Thousands of hot tubs running a system made by Balboa Water Group have exploits that can be hacked to allow malicious actors to remotely control them, according to a recent report from the BBC.

The issue, discovered by security researchers at the U.K.-based security firm Pen Test Partners, stems from lapses in a mobile app that enables hot tub owners to control their tubs from their phone. Attackers could theoretically gather information found on public resources to find homes with the vulnerable hot tubs and target them. The malicious actors could use third-party databases to find the GPS location data of a given tub and hijack it. There is no authentication that would prevent the attackers from getting into the system.

Once the attackers have picked their target, they can assume control of the tub remotely. That means they can make the temperature hotter or colder, take over the pumps and jets, and change the lights. The entire attack can be carried out over a smartphone or laptop.

According to the BBC, Balboa Water Group was caught off guard by the report and said it was “surprised” to learn of the vulnerability. The mobile app that gives users the ability to remotely control their hot tub has been available for about five years and users have never reported any issues or hacking attempts, according to the company.

Balboa Water Group is in the process of addressing the security flaw and plans to have it patched up by the end of February — which is a long time to leave a known flaw unpatched and available to exploit. The company is working with its customers to set up individual usernames and passwords so they can secure their apps. It previously opted not to have users set up personal accounts because it wanted to simplify the activation process. While that might have made things more convenient, the decision also exposed users to having their personal time in the hot tub interrupted by hackers.

Smart Home

Abode Systems taps HelloTech for professional security system installations

Abode Systems has been expanding into the smart home security market and will enhance its technology with a new partnership with tech support firm HelloTech, which will install its security systems for a fee.

How do the revised Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles stack up?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?

Windows 7 is still immensely popular. Is it really better than Windows 10?

With the end of support of Windows 7 approaching, have you been holding off on upgrading to Windows 10? In this guide, we give look at some of the biggest differences between the most popular operating systems.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.
Smart Home

Ring adds color night vision to wired security devices and HDR to wireless ones

Ring rolled out color night vision to its wired security products with cameras such as the Spotlight Cam Wired. At the same time, Ring added HDR control to its battery-powered security devices including the Video Doorbell 2.

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.
Product Review

From tables to porches, Ring's Stick Up Cam watches wherever you want

Ring’s latest home security camera offers more versatility than ever before, with the ability to mount it, set it on a table, or put it inside or outside. We got a chance to test it out. Here’s how it went.
Smart Home

Check out the largest pools in the world - and how you can get there

From Egypt to Singapore to California, here's a pictorial breakdown of some of the biggest and largest pools in the world. Many of these pools are so big that you can even kayak and windsurf on them.
Smart Home

Consumer groups call out retailers in a bid for better IoT security

Consumer groups posted a "Dear retailer" letter on February 12 that called out Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, and Target, shaming the companies for selling insecure smart home devices.

The best Presidents’ Day sales 2019: Amazon, Walmart, Dell, and more

Presidents' Day sales are a great chance to score electronics, clothing, home and office stuff, and other goodies at a discount. We’ve smoked out a large handful of the best of these Presidents' Day deals, from tech to bedding, to help…

Walmart drops a killer Instant Pot deal for Presidents’ Day weekend

With the Walmart Presidents' Day sale going on right now, you can actually pick up the Instant Pot Lux60 6-quart programmable pressure cooker for just $69 -- $30 off its normal price.
Smart Home

Walmart slashes prices on Google Home during its Presidents’ Day sale

Walmart slashes prices on Google Home during its Presidents' Day sale. Whether you're taking your first step in configuring a smart home or expanding to every room, Walmart has excellent sale prices for all the key components.

Walmart Presidents’ Day sale: Instant Pot, Google Home, and 4K TV deals

Presidents' Day weekend is one of the best times of the year to find deep discounts on 4K TVs, laptops, Instant Pots, clothes, mattresses, and furniture. And Walmart is offering deals on all of those things and more.
Product Review

Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the simplest entry into a smarter doorway

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 may lack the style and sophistication of premium door-dingers, but few can match its simplicity and versatility. The device, available in both wired and wireless configurations, is easy to set up and adds instant…