On Forbes, Kashmir Hill looks at how a simple Google search gave her access to a variety of 'smart homes' -- houses that use automation equipment accessible from the Internet -- easily turning on and off lights, unlock doors and even open garage doors.
Many of these products have smartphone apps and Web portals that let users operate devices, cameras, and locks from afar. Getting to live the Jetsons lifestyle has downsides though; as we bring the things in our homes onto the Internet, we run into the same kind of security concerns we have for any connected device: they could get hacked.
Googling a very simple phrase led me to a list of smart homes that had done something rather stupid. The homes all have an automation system from Insteon that allows remote control of their lights, hot tubs, fans, televisions, water pumps, garage doors, cameras, and other devices, so that their owners can turn these things on and off with a smartphone app or via the Web. The dumb thing? Their systems had been made crawl-able by search engines meaning they show up in search results and due to Insteon not requiring user names and passwords by default in a now-discontinued product, I was able to click on the links, giving me the ability to turn these peoples homes into haunted houses, energy-consumption nightmares, or even robbery targets. Opening a garage door could make a house ripe for actual physical intrusion.
|NASA's Next Generation Space Engines Tested for 5 Years Straight|
|“We have an opportunity, to fundamentally redefine what urban life can actually be.”|
|When do ice ages begin?|
|“Your great-grandparents may phone you up to ask you to babysit your granduncle for the evening.”|
|The End of the Shopping Mall|
|“Google and Facebook figured out how to commodify 'reality' itself by tracking what people do.”|
|“New York Central trains in the Hudson River valley in 1928 and 1929”|
|“The latest warning sign for cities who are considering signing over public spaces to major tech companies.”|
|“Scientific evidence that digital distraction is damaging our minds.”|
|“Buying a new smartphone every two years is taking a toll on the planet.”|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|"Waymo is reportedly planning to take the next step towards offering a commercial driverless car service in early December."|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|“Bias, error, and misuse of Artificial Intelligence technologies.”|
|“We need to make algorithms transparent, regulated, and forgiving of the flawed creatures that converse with them.”|
|“Forget reading the book of life—we’re now learning how to write it.”|