Friday, February 28, 2014

Russian teen hacks eHome

By +Brad Naylor

As technology continues to evolve and seamlessly integrate into our lives, the more we are putting ourselves at risk. A Russian teenager was recently arrested for hacking into an eHome and messing with the settings, adjusting the thermostat from a cool 70 degrees to a tropical 77 degrees, changing the autolight clock from am to pm causing the lights to come on during the day, and setting the refrigerator to autotweet every time the door was opened.
The connected home a.k.a. the eHome
The eHome, a hackers dream
While these adjustments are a minor inconvenience, the teen also DVR'd all 9 seasons of 'Spongebob Squarepants', overwriting unseen episodes of 'The Bachelor' causing much distress to the home owner.

The idea behind an eHome is to automate those mundane tasks to make life easier for the occupant, but with control in the wrong hands, the eHome can be easily retrained to be a pain in the ass. Imagine if the autoflushing toilet would go off before you had finished? What if the automatic smoke detectors were set to update your facebook status with "OMG I burned the toast again" every time you burned the toast? How about the dryer in the laundry room was set to stop 5 minutes early so that your clothes seemed warm and dry but were still just damp enough that you don't notice until you put them on?

This latest attack by Dom Podklyuchennyy highlights the need for greater security in the automated home. "As we put more trust in the technology which is evolving around us, we put ourselves at greater risk," said Mike Channing, a computer security expert. "The connected home has been a dream since the 1950's and now as it is becoming a reality, so are the dangers of automating everything without taking sufficient security measures."

The future kitchen from the 1950's
Even in the future women belong in the kitchen
Our friend and ex-penguin slapper Jack Stropp predicted issues with the connected home years ago and wrote a post about technology addiction. We asked Jack what he thought about connected homes and what we should be doing to protect ourselves.
"We are not only putting ourselves at risk from malicious hackers who could gain control of our homes from thousands of miles away, but also we have to watch out for the enemy closer to home. Who do you think is integrating all of these systems so that they can connect effortlessly? All of the technology involved in the connected home points back to a single company which is on the verge of global information domination. This company will have yottabytes of information on each one of us and will be able to target very specific advertising at us.
Not only will the connected home be able to automatically call 911 when it discovers a fire, but it will alert XXXXXX so that they can send advertisements for companies specializing in damaged home repairs to your phone."
Well I think Jack might have been reading too many conspiracy novels with Jesse Ventura, but his extreme position could have some validity. His advice is to scroll through read the the entire software agreement rather than blindly clicking "I Accept" and then going into SETTINGS and checking all of the privacy options.

Would you hand over the running of your home to a computer? Share your thoughts below.

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