The New York Times considers privacy, security and the “Internet of Things,” which is a computerized network of physical objects. In IoT, sensors and data storage devices embedded in objects interact with Web services. (For more on privacy and the IoT, see a Center for Democracy and Technology report that I consulted on and contributed to, “Building the Digital Out-Of-Home Privacy Infrastructure.”) The Times reports:
These initiatives are all part of what is known as the Internet of Things. That is a catchall term used to describe connectivity — specifically, how people connect with products, and how products connect with each other.
Sounds great. But I can’t shake the feeling that one day, maybe, just maybe, my entire apartment is going to get hacked. […]
Hackers can crack governments and corporations, let alone smartphones and desktops. What’s to stop them from hacking a connected house? Think back to those dark ages when the first smartphones arrived. Back then, few people worried about the privacy and security issues those products might pose. Look where we are today. […]
Take an incident that happened last week in Australia. Reports popped up on Apple forums and in the media that some people with iOS devices, including iPhones, iPads and Mac computers had been targeted in a “digital hijacking” operation. Hackers had commandeered the machines and rendered them unusable. A hacker going by the name “Oleg Pliss” demanded a $100 ransom, paid via PayPal, to unlock each one.
Now imagine what could happen to your house. You come home to unlock your front door or turn on your lights with your smartphone — and find yourself locked out, your home held hostage.