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.
|Getting Away May Be Hard to Do: the Virtual Offices of 2025|
|The Growing Violence Against Technology Firms|
|"The evidence of dramatic change is all around us and it’s happening at exponential speed."|
|Power Pallet: Carbon-Negative Biomass Power Generators|
|How the Electric Car is Going to Take Over the World|
|“You become more difficult for an algorithm to understand, market to, or manipulate.”|
|Smart Solar Panel Window Blinds|
|"The machine had gotten inside the human’s head."|
|"Low-cost solar and human-powered vehicle."|
|"The most automated warehouse of its kind"|
|Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans|
|"Contact could mean extraordinary things for humanity if it happens soon."|
|"How will that impact human evolution going forward?"|
|Changing the Oil of Your Car is so Easy, Even a Kid Can Do It|
|A Brief History of the Entire World, I Think|
|"Synthetic biology is the realm of creating life from scratch."|