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coffee, Kaffee

Somebody hacked my coffee!

All you really wanted was a coffee.

It’s the nightmare scenario for the physically fit and caffeine dependent.
After a morning jog – with all cardiovascular and performance details recorded in a smartphone app – you are really looking forward to your morning coffee.

And it’s not just any coffee. You’ve already ordered a “Cappuchino Barista” through your phone before leaving the house. It’s set to be made the moment you return to the house and your phone kicks off the process by sending a Bluetooth message to the espresso machine.

This coffee has been in your mind as you ran through the unseasonably damp and chilly morning. But then, something goes terribly wrong.
Instead of that special cappuccino, you have a cup of lukewarm water waiting for you. And the espresso machine is blinking a cross-bones and skull with a sardonic smile.

Your morning has been hacked. Without that anticipated dose of caffeine, you are not a pleasant person to behold. And you are hoping that hackers have not engineered a cold shower for you.

Talk about a first world problem.

But yes, some derivative of this scenario could happen in the near future. Because the Internet of Things (IoT) has now redefined its focus into becoming the IoC, otherwise known as the #InternetofCoffee.

Opportunity is brewing

The quest for an online coffee is steaming ahead. DeLonghi now has its PrimaDonna Elite, an espresso machine with their Coffee Link app that allows you to order over ten hot beverages from your phone. All you need to do is place an empty cup in the correct position on the machine.


DeLonghi is not alone. Nespresso Prodigio also has a Bluetooth app – and this app lets you know how many more little pods are left so they can be reordered in time. Then there is the Smarter Coffee machine which connects directly to WiFi networks. And for even more help in automating your daily life, you can get wake-up routines from IFTT for your Smarter Coffee.

Can anyone hack my coffee?

All software is vulnerable, some is more vulnerable than others. This Orwellian statement also applies to IoT – and your coffee and your Nike shoes. Just because a Bluetooth connection has less range than the average home WiFi network, the theoretical risk is less on a DeLonghi than a Smarter Coffee. A brief search on the topic found no vulnerabilities in the above machines which cyber-criminals are exploiting. Your daily dose of coffee – with or without an internet connection – is safe for now. But just remember, if it is software and it’s connected, there is an above-zero probability that it can be hacked.

This post is also available in: German

As a PR Consultant and journalist, Frink has covered IT security issues for a number of security software firms, as well as provided reviews and insight on the beer and automotive industries (but usually not at the same time). Otherwise, he's known for making a great bowl of popcorn and extraordinary messes in a kitchen.