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2019-02-01 10:12 by Karl Denninger
in Small Business , 215 references Ignore this thread
Are You A Damned Moron?*
[Comments enabled]

Those who sell their souls to the Devil have little to complain about when he shows up without a jar of KY to go with what he intends to do to you.

Arjun Sud was standing outside his son Oliver’s Door Sunday when he heard that voice. He burst in. The voice stopped. He and his wife chalked it up to baby monitor interference. But once downstairs, they heard the voice again.

It was an unseen intruder talking to them through their Nest security camera, using obscenities including the ‘N’ word.

“Asking me, you know, why I’m looking at him because he saw obviously that I was looking back and continuing to taunt me,” he said.

“It was terrifying,” Sud’s wife Jessica said.

Sud says once his shock subsided he composed himself enough to record part of the ominous exchange.

Sud believes the hacker also turned their upstairs thermostat to 90 degrees. He noticed that potential danger to their baby the same night.

“And then they messed with our thermostat,” Jessica said. “Who does that?”

Uh, you are the idiot that connected your house to a "cloud" -- that is, a computer owned by someone else.

It's not like you didn't know in advance that these companies make their money using your data to screw you in one form or another -- even if it's just 'selling advertising.'

smiley

Of course the companies always claim it's the customer's fault -- they didn't use a good password, they didn't use 2-factor authentication, etc.  This ignores the reality of the situation, which is both simpler and more-complex.

The simple side is this: These firms make their money off selling data they accumulate on you.  Security is not their first thought or they wouldn't connect such things as your thermostat to the "cloud" at all; they'd design them to be very secure and talk only to your specific devices such as your phone.

But then they wouldn't be able to use that data themselves.

You can bet they intend to -- and are.  Just read this:

We should recognize this pattern: Tech that seems like an obvious good can develop darker dimensions as capabilities improve and data shifts into new hands. A terms-of-service update, a face-recognition upgrade or a hack could turn your doorbell into a privacy invasion you didn’t see coming.

Last month, Ring got caught allowing its team in Ukraine to view and annotate certain user videos; the company says it only looks at publicly shared videos and those from Ring owners who provide consent. Just last week, a California family’s Nest camera let a hacker take over and broadcast fake audio warnings about a missile attack, not to mention peer in on them, when they used a weak password.

Why do you think these folks all design their software and "products" to have a business model that costs them money on an ongoing, perpetual basis?  Computers are not free and neither is storage.  What possible purpose does imposing a cost model on themselves on a perpetual forward basis for said "cloud connections" have unless they are going to use it to screw you in some form or fashion?

It's not necessary for anything more than a licensing check or similar, and that contains nothing of value to a hacker provided the payment information for said license is secured properly (or not even present on that system, which it doesn't have to be.)  There's simply no reason at all to have that data and a back-channel to connect to your house in the "cloud" in terms of access for you; your phone or laptop can simply connect directly back to your house via a secured, SSL-enabled connection and if it was designed that way the only place the data would be is in your house and on your phone.

Instead these "cloud folks" try to sell you "convenience" that isn't really any more convenient at all!

HomeDaemon-MCP provides you remote access to everything in your home that you wish to look at and control along with alarms and similar in real time without any "cloud" involvement.  Yet if you want real-time video from your camera(s), you can see it.  If you want to grab a segment to your phone (directly, not to a cloud computer) you can do that on command.  If you want to adjust your thermostat, you can.  See when someone was last in a room, sure.

But nobody has that data except you, because it's not stored anywhere except on the little credit-card size computer in your house and is only transmitted to your device(s), such as your phone, when they are connected -- and nowhere else.  No cloud, no company mining your data looking for patterns it can sell things to you based on and nobody spying on you either.

I just closed on my late mother's estate (house.)  Her place was built almost-literally on a swamp (along with many others in the neighborhood) and had a full basement, which means a sump pump that had better not, ever, quit working.  Then there's the usual issues when you're not there all the time -- especially in the winter, where loss of heating (e.g. something as simple as a burned-out igniter in the furnace) means frozen pipes and a god-awful amount of damage.

HomeDaemon-MCP took care of all of that, in addition to my home here in Florida.  The sump pump was checked with a plug module that reported power usage.  It thus became trivially simple to know how often it was cycling, for starters.  In addition setting alarm points for the pump being on for too long (a sump pump should never actually run for more than a few seconds per cycle) or excessive power consumption (indicating either a blocked -- like frozen -- outlet or a locked rotor, that is, a failed pump) raised immediate and very loud alarms on my phone.  Finally, a water sensor probe down the volute above the normal level was there -- just in case everything else looked ok but the water wasn't actually being pumped.

Then in the main living space a CO/Fire detector that also talked to the system was put up (battery powered), covering that possibility, and finally a thermostat.  The latter not only made for a big reduction in power consumption when nobody was there but also allowed for trivial monitoring for the situation where it's winter and the furnace breaks, in that too-low temperature would cause an immediate alarm too.

Icing on the cake was the ability to have and look at 24x7 video feeds if desired, and knowing when motion was last detected, so if someone broke a window, well, that was covered too.

I've been living there about half the time since September; the same issue of course arises for anyone else who has a vacation or second home -- or if you just go to work 8 hours a day.  You're not there all the time and it's nice to know that all is well -- and be immediately told if it isn't.

No cloud, no bullcrap, nobody gets in except me -- and notification is effectively immediate (60 seconds or less) if something happens.  In addition should I want to let someone in (e.g. a Realtor) I can -- remotely, with the push of a button, and know if/when someone does come in, even using a key.

Want to disrupt this space?  The marketing material writes itself with stories like this cited one above, of which there are plenty already and will be more.

Email me -- contact info is to the right.

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