IoT and What You Don’t Realize
Think about your ideal Saturday for a moment: You are home watching your college football team battle it out on the grid-iron against the in-state rival with your friends over when all of a sudden the A/C feels hotter than normal. Common sense tells you to use your iPhone to change the Nest back to its normal sixty-eight degrees; exactly what you and your roommate agreed upon after heated [pun intended] debates. You go back and watch some more football until you realize that your friends are starting to perspire oceans. Then you notice the temperature on your phone reading “Eighty degrees Fahrenheit”. As your freak-out continues, out of nowhere the alarm goes off- but no one broke in. Then you gather it’s not the house alarm but your car alarm, but how?
Some of you might already be familiar with the concept of IoT but for you newbs, [if that’s even still a trending word] that stands for the Internet of Things which encompasses literally ANY electronic device connected to the internet. It’s a pretty wild concept when you think about it, that just about every device we own now is, in one way or another, connected to the World Wide Web. Today we cannot touch anything electronic without inadvertently being connected. For a White Hat hacker, it is a disaster while on the other hand it is a dream come true for Black Hat hackers, Red Teams and Script Kiddies alike. The horrors of being hacked are becoming more and more real every day thanks to various testimonials from people ranging the entirety of the technology-comprehension scale1.
Just the other day I was in an Uber. After awkwardly introducing myself, I mentioned I am going in to the Cyber Security field post-grad and he became overly passionate with every question. He asked if I ever hacked anyone, if I ever wanted to hack into the government, my opinion on Hillary Clinton and her emails and many other ethical questions. When I got out of the cab I began to dissect the conversation. It was amusing at first to me that the average, hard-working Jose2 was so excited to learn what it was like to be in my [future] shoes that he was so blinded by the ‘magic code’3. He was oblivious of the dangers of which I will protect him and the rest of our great nation from4. He only focused on the wonders of code and all it could do; Jose was completely unaware to the fact that any hacker could just take control of his car5 scared me and also made it perfectly clear that America is clueless in terms of the extent of what hackers can accomplish as well as the knowledge of technological advances6. This incident was just only one in dozens of examples a day I encounter of the dangers in having all of our life being connected.
We see commercials all the time of smart watches being able to start our cars, emailing pictures of family members to our refrigerators from our phones and many other unimaginable ways that the IoT is a lifestyle which will only be absorbed further into our daily lives. I write this now feeling [probably] exactly how Copernicus7, William Harvey and George Mendel8 felt in terms of the threats which everyone overlooks! Call me crazy, fine; but “Wake up, Neo!”9, we are no longer in an era of privacy10 or where you are allowed to act a fool just for a hot second and it not follow you until the day you die11. We live in a time where it is suggested to cover your computer’s webcam with tape12 so those that hack into our computer’s cannot see our scandalously mundane secrets we hide from the world. But that’s what our masks13 are for, too bad those masks have turned into puppy filters14 that are shared on yet another medium labeled social media intended for us to feel anything but FOMO15. So privacy is an obvious issue, but more importantly is the effects which affect the citizens of this IoT utopia into tricking us that everything is better than previous generation. True we have the ability now to set aside useless Jeopardy facts16 for the opportunity cost of absorbing useful technical knowledge to better the world; or just remember more versus of ‘American Pie’ or the new Kanye album. For the quick two years I was a business major, the number one mantra taught was, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”; why should this new technology revolution17 be any different.
However short this commentary may be I urge you to take away the understanding that Snapchat does save all your data, you are always being watched and because everything is now connected it is even easier for hackers to literally control your life. So come next week when you are sitting at home noticing all of your alarms going off just remember that all of your smart devices are working perfectly- you’ve just been PWNed!
2. His name was Jose
3. Pun referencing magic numbers for compiling code
4. Maybe Mom was right and I do think too highly of myself.
5. CANBus (Controller Area Network) + Ardunio = https://canb.us/
6. But that is a whole ‘nother conversation on importance of STEM in school systems
9. The Matrix
10. Thanks Ed [Snowden]
11. Thanks Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs
13. Paul Lawrence “We Wear the Mask” Poem
14. Thanks Snapchat
15. The Fear Of Missing Out
16. Now we can just google it via Siri or Cortana
17. How can it not be? Moore’s Law has never been more true that it is now- ex: new iPhones come out once a year