Amazingly, I agree with plod here

Consumers who buy internet-enabled devices such as televisions, refrigerators and even kettles are leaving themselves open to hackers who could use them to gain access to their bank accounts, one of the country’s most senior police officers has warned.

Not sure that the fridge will ever know the bank account numbers but still, yes, people will indeed hack into everything. No residence of mine is ever going to be internet enabled, in this sense at least, therefore.

31 thoughts on “Amazingly, I agree with plod here”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    The biggest threat be from the leccy companies, turning stuff on and off to suit themselves. And I see they’re still pushing using electric cars as a free source of storage for the leccy companies.

  2. Actually fridges will be the prime device that has access to payment authority: smart fridges are supposed to order more stuff when you run out 🙂

  3. For this system to work it’ll have to be plug & play AND totally secure. That seems to be completely impossible for now. Every week on The Register we get stories about the latest router vulnerabilities that rarely get fixed.

    Then there’s the manufacturers who do the hacking themselves – LG smart TVs have been caught calling home with your viewing habits.

    As soon as this is implemented the papers will be full of stories of hackers who send someone two years worth of milk for a laugh.

  4. It’s all bollocks, like pretty much everything, but suppose you have a smart fridge that re-orders stuff when you run out, and suppose you try a new brand of cheese which goes in said fridge and has its bar-code read.

    You try a bit of the cheese and decide it tastes horrible. You bin it. The fridge thinks you have necked the lot and orders some more … you are doomed to an endless supply of horrible cheese. Thus, very quickly, shoppers will learn that they dare not try anything perishable and different.

    I don’t think this has been fully thought through. (Either the smart fridge or my comment.)

  5. Is it just me, or is there something really sinister about all this “internet of things” stuff?

  6. Raffles

    If the smart TV can report back with your viewing habits, presumably it can report back having quietly started the record button (they do come with microphones and cams, don’t they?)…

  7. PF

    Yep. It’s been discussed many a time. TV companies are thinking that you might like to use your TV for video-conferencing. I think we can see how that’ll end up.

  8. “Not sure that the fridge will ever know the bank account numbers”

    It won’t, but it probably can be persuaded to download malware that attacks other devices on your network. This can do anything the operator wants – sniff for bank & credit card details, install ransomware, live stream from the camera in the laptop in your bedroom …

    Oh brave new world, that has such gadgets in’t.

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    its really annoying, especially after my son and his gf house sat for 2 weeks. They watch some real crap and it takes weeks to clear it out unwtached.

  10. I know a lot of Infosec bods (myself included) who will not connect TVs, fridges, Alexa buttons, security cameras or anything else to their home network. Far too many things of this sort have goatse sized gaping security holes and it is next to impossible to fix them because the manufacturers a) don’t care enough to provide firmware updates and 2) as a result don’t provide a mechanism to upgrade the firmware or do anything else with it unless you hack the thing yourself.

  11. One of the classic failings of almost all internet security is to trust things on the local network. This is extremely dangerous

  12. Then there’s the manufacturers who do the hacking themselves – LG smart TVs have been caught calling home with your viewing habits.

    The rumour on Twitter is that Roombas are flogging maps of your house!

  13. Is it just me, or is there something really sinister about all this “internet of things” stuff?

    No, it’s a solution in search of a problem. I’ve seen it with cars: endless efforts to incorporate the internet into cars, when the only thing worth doing is GPS and traffic updates.

  14. endless efforts to incorporate the internet into cars, when the only thing worth doing is GPS and traffic updates

    Mitsubishi do this the right way – a standalone WiFi connection with no Internet capability that lets you (e.g.) turn on the electric heating to defrost the car before setting off. It’s hackable (of course) but you need to be within range, and the worst you can do is disable the alarm system.

  15. The InternetOfShit Twitter account just posted something about a connected coffee machine taking down a factory (or something).

  16. I don’t agree with him, because he wants more state control. And how the fuck does he think an internet-enabled thermostat is going to get your bank account?

    I tend to agree with Tim Newman. The worst part is how pointless IoT stuff is in the home. I suspect it’ll be a fad that dies unless someone can find some good uses.

  17. “endless efforts to incorporate the internet into cars, when the only thing worth doing is GPS and traffic updates.”

    The best approach to that problem is the simple, modular approach: pair your smartphone with the bluetooth radio and use voice control. Avoids any gouging on repair bills or getting stiffed for ridiculous monthly tariffs.

  18. My online supermarket can predict what I want to order each week anyway with a surprising degree of accuracy (apparently I am easily predictable to a logarithm), albeit it has yet to get to grips with my cheese orders. I am not sure how an internet-enabled fridge will improve this, as it will not know whether I am fancying cooking chicken thighs this week (or off on holiday), and it cannot tell me the milk has inexplicably gone off.

    I am not sure why people keep thinking that hardware needs to replicate the functions of software anyway – we are generally app focussed. I suppose a system that flags your kid has run off with the last chocolate moose (sp?) and you need some more might be useful, but this should only link to your device, allowing you to then transfer this to your online order (and allowing you to make a proper judgement on the amount of unhealthy snacks available to fridge-opening kids, which is a paretal not a fridgerial decision…).

  19. “endless efforts to incorporate the internet into cars, when the only thing worth doing is GPS and traffic updates.”

    Don’t forget that the EU are mandating that cars can connect to the Internet.

    Their idea is that it will automatically call the emergency services in the event of a crash.

    There is ABSOLUTELY no chance of scope creep, or new features getting piggybacked (maybe speed monitoring, G force monitoring, time without a break monitoring) or the data being sold on (insurance companies maybe).


    None at all.

  20. Raffles,

    How are the EU going to manage to get this working in say Wales, where much of the country does not have a reliable mobile signal due to the presence of large lumps of rock and relatively few masts? Or even in Belgium, where there is no signal in much of Wallonia due to trees (apparently – this is information from a Fleming so should be treated with due cautioin).

    Doesn’t strike me as workable – where the service might be useful (lonely fell road overnight maybe) then it won’t work, whilst where it will work there are people…

    Ideal system if you want to lure policeman to an ambush mind you.

  21. @Watchman – I didn’t say it was well thought out, or even going to work 🙂

    I am sure I have read (probably The Register) that all new cars in EU must have this feature very soon though.

    Basically when the airbag is triggered it sends an alert.

  22. Gamecock is getting old. I am unable to think of any application for internet on a refrigerator. I’ve got one to keep my beer, cheese, and roast beef cold, and make ice for my Singapore Slings. Not a clue how internet could improve that.

  23. Why the fuck would you want an internet enabled kettle? What would it do which required an internet connection?

    Then again I remember seeing an internet enabled electric toothbrush on Amazon once, £500. There’s obviously a market for this shit.

  24. There’s two big problems with the IoT as currently done.

    First is that almost universally the evil little things use the “Cloud” – internet-connected servers – for all data and computation. So the fact that you like Brie with bits of baco in it has already escaped your home. And the fact that you want to open the front door is dependent on an internet connection. (Of course, it shouldn’t be – it just is).

    And the second is that most of these things run a version of Linux on an ARM processor. Can you spell monoculture? Find a security hole in one IoT device, and you probably have one you can exploit on a very large percentage of the installed base. This is truly worrying.

    Fixing the first one may just be market forces.

    Fixing the second may require a market intervention – such as a massive lawsuit against someone with deep pockets, large enough to drive them out of business, for selling goods they knew were unfit. Then the pressure for a better technical solution will let us replace all the Linux-n-ARM merde with something waterproof (think a version of capabilities and a nanokernel

  25. Couple of things, there’s a reason that despite decades of ERP systems you still have a person review restocking orders and release them rather than let the system do everything, it’s just not reliable enough and there are potential factors you can’t put into the system. So back to perfect information and lack of it again.
    An internet connected kettle I can see a use case for that as I can turn it on a few minutes before getting home so I don’t have to wait so long for my cup of tea, in 110v areas a kettle is exasperatingly slow, though EU low power regulations may mirror this.

  26. Toaster: What’s the point of buying a toaster with artificial intelligence if you don’t like toast?

  27. don’t understand why you need internet enabled domestic appliances. My toaster is a dualit doesn’t even have automatic pop up and is best toaster i have ever owned. How connecting it to the internet would make my life easier i don’t understand.

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