Showing posts with label IoT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IoT. Show all posts

Monday, August 3, 2015

Are We Painting Ourselves Into a Proverbial Corner by Embracing IoT Technology?

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It's been said more then once that technology will be Society's downfall. In light of what I see going on today--how private industry and the Federal Government itself are connecting everything in sight, including our critical infrastructure, to the Internet--this is exactly what's happening, or should I say, this is what's going to happen. It's a matter of when, not if.

What makes it even worse, these criminals are afforded the comfort of their own homes as they reach out across the sea to do us harm. From that vantage point they can beat at the front, side, and back doors of our most cherished utilities, defensive portals, and much more, and they can do it from the comfort of their own armchairs.

And now, we as individuals and companies are contemplating the connection of oodles of electronic sensors that we intend to install throughout our homes, businesses, and gov agencies to the Internet for the entire world to "see." Talk about an intelligence officer's dream! In short order all kinds of devices will begin to appear on the clothes we wear, as we're already wearing some of them on our wrists and around our necks. And, in due time, they'll migrate from these spots into our very bodies.

With all of this tech coming into so many lives, and collecting so much information about consumers and workers, there is a broad potential sensorsrity risk. Malicious software can steal personal information and activity patterns from consumers, and if someone uses personal devices for work, enterprise-level intelligence can be at risk, too. click here to read more.

Technology can be a wonderful thing, but it also might be the very means by which the dictators and tyrants of today's world somehow enslaves us. This reminds me of the young boy who painted his parent's garage floor gray. He was so intent on doing a good job that he painted himself into a corner where there was no escape, no door to make his exist through. The question is, are we painting ourselves into a corner with all these connected technologies?

Isn't our smartphones enough of a risk? Think about it.

Al Colombo


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Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
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Monday, June 2, 2014

Maybe Having a Smart Home Isn't all That Smart

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"Network World - A year ago, people were mostly talking about the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) — what companies and government entities might do in the future to take advantage of this widespread network of connected objects" (The Internet of Things gets real, Network World, http://bit.ly/1n6ntuC).

The fact is, people were talking about the Internet of Things (IoT) long before a year ago. In the mid- to late-1990s, for example, I was writing about this form of connectivity between machine and service provider/owner in the magazine I worked for as an associate editor (Security Distributing & Marketing).

Internet-Connected Appliances

One of the applications to which IoT lends itself well is that of maintenance updates to a variety of companies with regards to the equipment they sell. Examples include the following:
  • Refrigerators
  • Heating Plants
  • Air Conditioning Units
  • Washing Machines
  • Cloths Dryers
  • Conventional and Microwave Ovens
  • Chillers
  • Electrical Systems
  • Smart Electric Meters
..to name only a few.

A good example of what could take place when your conventional oven develops a problem is that an update of the situation is sent to either the manufacturer or the maintenance company of record over one of the in-house broadband connections. The update would provide important ID information that enables the company to generate a call ticket. You would then be notified of the problem and given an opportunity to have a repairman come to your home or business to fix it.

Back in the 90's, there was talk of including some type of infrared scanning system that would be capable of inventorying all of the foods you keep in your refrigerator. When you are running low, a notice would be sent to you in email, providing you with a shopping list of needs for your use. Or, at the same time, this list could be periodically generated and sent to the grocery store of choice for delivery to the home.

The Danger of Connected Appliances

In the 90's, when we thought of Internet-connected appliances, we thought in terms of Category 5E or Category 5e cabling. Today, all of these devices will connect to the Internet through the WiFi system in our homes and businesses.

Well, other than being irradiated by more radio waves banging around the house, we will come to the stage where your refrigerator can be hacked. We know our computers can be hacked. Recent news stories have revealed that chain stores, banks and the government can be hacked. Cellphones can be hacked, which by the way we pointed out to our readers several years ago. So now we approach the time when your Internet-connected house can be hacked. It seems silly, of course, but the reality is, if your freezer or furnace can be reached through the Internet, it may be that the device you use to control them can be hacked. Which means, as we extend this thought into total paranoia, your passwords could be as vulnerable to a meltdown as your freezer. Will hackers soon be eyeing your fridge?

As most of you know, one of the ploys used by hackers is to get you to respond to an email by clicking on a link or simply replying to an offer. The ensuing information, especially where you reply, carries valuable information that tells the hackers exactly where you are in terms of the World Wide Web. It provides the exact IP address so they can work to enter your home via the network.

Although service providers are not apt to give out your IP to those they do not know, as well to those who have no business having it, this kind of information can fall into the wrong hands by a variety of ways. Any one of these signals can draw the attention of hackers, and even though you may not think this could be destructive, think again.

Hacking Your Appliances

With all the data flowing in and out of your home between the various appliances and those responsible for their on-line care, it's even more likely that hackers can find their way to your home. Once they enter the network through your heat pump, it's possible to penetrate other devices on your network, including your computer.

For example, a hacker who gains access to your furnace could reprogram it. They might change the set points--which is the temperature it comes on and goes off. They might even alter the safety controls that safeguard your home from fire.

Hackers could also enter your refrigerator, perhaps turning it off, adjusting the temperature so it freezes all the food, or they might cause some other combination of undesirable events to take place. At the very least, they would have a complete list of everything you have in it.

Would you allow a stranger off the street to open your front door, walk in, and open your refrigerator door? I didn't think so.


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Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

Subscribe

Be sure not to miss each and every blog comment by subscribing to my email service. Every time I publish a comment or an update, you will be the first to know. To sign up, enter your email address in the email subscription box on the top right of this page. Thank you! To contact Al Colombo, click here.