This week we have been talking about IoT (Internet of Things) devices in class…I love these thing for the most part. In our house we have multiple IoT devices including lights, outlets and a fan/air purifier. They are all great until they stop working…and then they are extremely frustrating.

The lights are probably the most prone to glitches…when they work, they are awesome. You can even use a service like IFTTT to set them to change based on certain conditions. One super bowl we had them to turn Orange if one team scored and Blue if another team scored. In theory, this sounded fun…in reality though, it only worked about 1/3 of the time which was very annoying. We never figured out why they didn’t work. The only other major annoyance about IoT devices is what happens when the power goes out. Since these things all have software on them, getting unexpectedly power-cycled creates problems sometimes. I have had multiple instances when the power went out, the lights were off, and then when it came back, the lights all came back on at full brightness. Not a big deal, until it’s the middle of the night and you area asleep and then all the lights come on…you end up with an upset wife while you wait for everything to come fully online and you can turn them off again.

One last thing about IoT devices…we didn’t discuss this aspect in class, but having worked in the intel community for years, I always seem to consider things from a security perspective. IoT devices had logs…those logs are not very useful by themselves…but if you aggregate them and look at them over time, they may reveal patterns and insights about you that can be exploited by someone. This can be as simple as the logs related to when you are turning the lights on/off or logs from camera sensors that detect if someone is in a room. All of this data can be used if it is not protected adequately. Most of the larger companies seem to be doing an ok job with their security policies, however, there are a few IoT devices I have decided are not worth the convenience. One of these was a camera I bought to use as a room monitor. It was great until I realized all of the data was stored in the cloud in a server abroad and was linked to some shady companies. The camera was cheap…but the price of privacy was too high for me to keep in in my house.

Anyway, like I said, I love IoT devices…they make things convenient and easy for the most part. But you have to be careful about the data and how it can be used.



Posted on November 22, 2019 at 11:40 am

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