Control

Regular Readers all know that I treat the Internet Of Things (IOT) with deep and hostile skepticism.  I hate the idea of driverless cars, “remotely-controlled” appliances and -household systems, and don’t even get me started on “smart” guns with embedded chips.

Here’s a decent takedown of the concept:

After a week of tinkering, he effectively turned the coffee maker into a ransomware machine.  When the user tries to connect it to their home network, it triggers the machine to turn on the burner, spew hot water, endlessly spin the bean grinder, and display a pre-programmed ransom message while beeping incessantly.  The only way to get it to stop?  Unplugging your now seemingly possessed coffee maker entirely.

I know that all this is The Coming Thing, and we should all just bow down and accept its inevitability.  My standard response to this kind of attitude has always been quite simple:

  or the more heated

or even

Stick shifts and car keys, bolt-action or pump action rifles, revolvers, “dumb” coffee machines, house keys, pen and paper… y’all get my drift, right?

Fuck automation, and fuck the Internet Of Things or Skynet or whatever the hell they want to call it.

This post comes to you courtesy of the Internet… goddamn it.

20 comments

  1. All the “new” shit is inherently undependable, meant for childish minds based in irresponsibility. Yes, early on I too bought into it, and I learned early on all the “new” stuff is just like the LSM, mostly fluff and very little useable stuff. Timewasters and future landfill occupants.

  2. A few years ago I read about a “smart” doorbell/camera that could unlock your door remotely (the example was to allow UPS to deliver a package). Not only “no” but “fuck no”, too easy to hack and let someone else into your home. I at least want them to have to go to the effort to pick the lock/break the door. They of course would insist that it’s “totally secure” to which I reply “bullshit”. I’ve been in the computer industry for nearly 35 years, I programmed my first computer over 40 years ago, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that there ain’t a system that can’t be hacked. A few years back rNas (the company that made those little security dongles with the random numbers) got hacked, if a company whose PRODUCT was computer security could get hacked anyone can.

    I HAVE considered setting up a home network with security cameras and remote outside lights, the difference being it will NOT have an outside connection, it’ll be strictly for me to use from home to check on what’s going on in places I can’t see from where I am. Yeah, a little less useful than being able to access it remotely, but a lot safer.

  3. Way, way back in the day (I’ve been doing computer stuff since ~1976) someone much more knowledgeable about computer security than I am told me the only way to truly secure a computer was to put it in a lead box, fill the box with cement, and drop them into the Mariana Trench.

  4. A coffee maker should be exactly “smart” enough to make coffee when I turn it on. Its only connectivity should be to the power outlet. I bought a new refrigerator recently, and they had several “smart” internet-connected ones, but nobody could really answer when I asked “how, exactly, will this help me?” I don’t need to be able to see what’s in my fridge when I’m not there, and when I am there, I’ll just open the door and look.

    1. You’re getting dangerously close to “common sense” there, Brother David. What are you, some kind of Luddite?

      Welcome to the club.

      1. I’m 56, and have worked with computers pretty much since they were available. I’ll use technology if there’s an advantage for me. Dishwasher? Sure. Smart dishwasher? Does it load and unload itself? I might go for that, but if not, forget it.

        So yeah, I guess I’m kind of a Luddite by today’s standards.

    2. Ditto. Can’t hack my pour-over.

      I’m all for automating my home — with the assumption that if someone wants to take it over, they have the ability. Lights? Sure. Worst that can happen is someone harasses me by flipping the lights on and off until I cut the hub from the internet. Thermostat? Sure. Same thing — they can make me uncomfortable until I realize someone is jacking with me. (I still have a dumb thermostat in the garage that I can install back in about 20 minutes.)

      Ovens? That thing that can burn my house down if you remove the safeties? Nope. Fridge? Spoil my food, or maybe disable to safeties and blow up the compressor? Nein. Door locks? Holy fuck no.

  5. After several years attempting to provide security for people who could not spell the word, I’ll predict the following about IoT: We’re fucking doomed.

    The stuff has less than no security, and why do you need a “smart” lightbulb, anyway, and what can an “intelligent internet-connected” fridge, dishwasher or coffepot do for you that a dumb one won’t?

    A friend has encountered several clients who have informed him they do not want his smart phone in their house because of the tracking and eavesdropping threat it poses. I asked him what they want him to do with it, and he replied “leave it in my car.” The same car that’s parked in their driveway 20 feet from their house?

    Yep.

    I’m thinking we need some sort of “Luddites United” shoulder patch or something.

  6. I told Herself that if she ever brought something like an “Alexa” into the house, the next thing she’d see was me sledgehammering it to death, out on the driveway.

    She knows that I meant it, and hence, no “device” as such here.

    Other than the damn cel phones, which listen in to every word spoken, anyway. Dammit.

    But our HDTV is a 2006 model, and *not* a “smart” TV. Here’s to it’s lasting, evermore.

    Jim
    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

  7. It is actually possible to secure the internet, including the things that are connected to it.

    The components of the necessary infrastructure have been lying around for years, waiting to be connected in various ways so as to actually implement that security.

    That is has not been accomplished is a direct result of two factors:

    1) A secure net used by the general public (as opposed to the elites) is not in the interest of state and near state level actors.

    2) The bigger factor, however, is economic.

    Software economics are such that software attains its maximum value the moment it is mostly functional in its end use context at reasonable levels of usability and robustness. Any additional trait the software acquires, such as being secure, sustainable, highly performant, extensible, highly robust, and so forth is achieved under conditions of diminishing return on investment. Furthermore, the more complete and complex any particular piece of software is, the harder it is to refactor it to include any additional desirable trait, which basically means you are bulldozing dirt up hill.

  8. Luddites United? Hell – fucking – yes. When/where may I join?
    Tod over at “Borepatch” has opined his disdain for internet connected devices. I don’t recall the specifics, but I have a vague memory about a kids’ toy company sued into bankruptcy because their internet-connected toy was hacked by a pedo, and said pedo used the hacked device to terrorize young children. Turned out that security on the aforementioned toy was not an afterthought … it was not even considered in the design. So … no … I wish not to have any internet-connected devices.

    1. I didn’t know the company had been sued into oblivion. It must have been a class action, liquidated company assets to pay the lawyers, a coupon for a new internet-connected toy for the consumers if they could prove they’d actually bought the toy within a certain time period and informed the company before an arbitrary deadline based on an obscure notice.

  9. Stick shifts and car keys and bolt-action rifles,
    Pen paper letters and magnum revolvers
    Dumb coffee makers without any pings
    These are a few of my favorite things

    My apologies to Julie Andrews, but I read your list and heard the song in my head.

  10. Despite being a colossal tech-geek, I consider ‘Internet of Things’ devices to be glass jaws in your network defenses.

    Plus, what the hell, can you not be arsed to get up and make the coffee yourself? Sheesh.

  11. I don’t want anything automated connected to the internet in my home. websites can be hacked and who knows where the information goes between coffee pot and end point. I doubt anyone wants to hack my appliance but if someone can, then they will. Things will get hacked for entertainment or monetary gain. Screw that. About the only technology beyond a power switch I want on my coffee maker is a timer so I can set it to start in the morning. My fridge keeps food cold or frozen. Give me a light in each part and that’s all I want. Ice maker, water dispenser, no thank you. These complications are added features that can break and manufacturers can stop making filters. No thank you. Look at the spam emails that say, your computer has been compromised, send me bit coins or your information is going to be stolen.

    I have a smart thermostat in the house that is not connected to the internet. I can set it so the heat comes on early in the morning, lowers the temperature when I leave for work and comes back to warm up the house when I return. That’s about as automated as I want.

    Smart gun technology is rubbish.

    They more they want to automate everything, the more I want to move to a cabin the woods with a wood stove and little contact with the automated world.

    I loved my first truck with a manual transmission. Now the 4wd has a knob connected to a solenoid rather than just a lever. I’d rather have a simpler truck and a simpler everything else. The new trucks are nice to some degree but I don’t think the electronics will last which is shameful.

    JQ

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