Monday 6 July 2015

The day my pad went mad

The home of the future (beta)

Home sweet ohm, the nightmare that is almost upon us

Should we fear the future or be utterly terrified by it? This is one question arising from considering how the digital society will manage after five years of Oettinger, the only man alive who would respond to an IT dept query with “No, I haven’t tried turning in off and back on again.”

After Oettinger advocated an exception from net neutrality for driverless cars, on the grounds that they needed the ability to respond in a millisecond, the questions over his competence become a tsunami of confusion.

A driverless car that needs 100% uptime to an extraordinarily high speed internet in order to do things like braking is just not going to be resilient enough to get beyond experimental prototype stage. Not only that, they don’t really use the internet, but on-board computing.

A schoolchild could list the reasons on-board computing is the only practical way forward, and why putting every vehicle’s entire control and monitoring through the cloud is irresponsibly dangerous, but Oettinger can’t. What does that tell you about how seriously Europe is about its future.

While it is clear that technology is becoming increasingly part of our lives, and while there are many advantages, there are things to consider.

If your home and car are doing everything through the cloud, where is privacy as governments and manufacturers collude over backdoors and have a habit of collecting as much data as possible for no reason other than, because they can.

Now imagine you’re having a nice Sunday drive in the countryside. Then hackers take over your car, threatening to crash it unless there’s an immediate payment, and they’ll control the locks, so you’d be trapped.

Or we could see some things that have actually happened. Raul Rojas is an innovator who set up a smart house, as we plan to do one day. Lights, TV, heating, oven, microwave, hi-fi and all were internet connected. All went well, until a little noticed bulb burned out and the house essentially performed a denial of service attack on itself, trying to warn the owner of the need for a new bulb.

Can you imagine being stuck in a house, with no heating, all doors locked, fridge defrosting, TV and hi-fi going nuts and Lord knows what else, simply because a light bulb went to meet its maker?

Then again, say your home was hacked. Once again, this has already happened many times. The internet of things can turn your home into a spambot. One poor guy eventually discovered his fridge was spending the nights pushing dodgy Viagra offers on millions of recipients.

A minor lapse or error in configuration can lead to horrific possibilities for a malevolent hacker or criminal. There are some very simple ways to discover ill-protected smart homes and there are many to find. Once a target is found, what’s the worst that can happen?

Notifying a house is empty to robbers is one of the lesser crimes. You’d be amazed at what is possible from something simple like gaining access via available wifi lightbulbs, toasters and other similar items that are becoming increasingly common.

A manufacturer of smart toilets has warned customers about hackers ability to break in and “causing discomfort or distress.”

If we want a smart future, we’re going to have to be smart and we’re going to need a smart Commissioner.

No comments:

Post a Comment