The Connected World: Do you have an option to opt out?

Sometime back, I had come across an article in the publication Wired magazine titled, ‘The Nightmare on Connected Home Street’. The article left me wondering and a bit scared of the future. On one side, it made me imagine endless possibilities of a future which is connected; where everything can be operated through the mere tap of your finger on a screen (mobile, tablet, wearables). No doubt it sounds great, after all who doesn’t like their life simplified. But as they say, with great power, comes great responsibility and the same I believe, applies here.

The technology which no doubt aides and simplifies our life is also susceptible to attacks. As we grow in a all things digitized world, the attacks also change form to digital or cyber attacks.

A dialogue from the popular TV show The Newsroom always comes to mind when I think about how secure is the connected world:

The world won’t be ended by a bomb.

It will be ended by a disgruntled kid, who hacks into a system, opens dams and canals, or changes the pressure in oil pipelines and causes huge explosions in heavily populated areas.

Now combine this line and the context of a connected world and you will be worried too!

If you still wonder what the situation might be like? Let me paint a picture for you.

You in the comfort of your connected home prepare for bed, your NEST thermostat knows the temperature you like, your alarm clock knows the time you prefer to be woken, it gets your coffee machine in action when you are in your bath. The toaster pops up as the coffee is ready.That song on Soundcloud or Spotify syncs with your car system as you get out of house and to your connected car. Technology has really made it simple for you.

All it will take a hacker to get all this technology to work against you is a minor entry point into the system. Watch how hackers were able to kill a car on the freeway, to get an idea of what is possible to control.

Your thermostat decides to freeze the room, the alarm beeps in the middle of the night to wake you up and the coffee already made is running on the floor! You no longer recognize your playlist songs, as it’s not your playlist anymore! Ahh, what a mess!

Thankfully this day is still somewhere in the future, till then all we can hope is, as we progress with technology, we make proper rules and codes to govern and manage its use. Setting a new standard for the Internet of Things, which transcends companies, products, experiences should be the path we should collectively agree to. These set of codes have kept us as a civilization and if we are to coexist, a new set of code is what we need.

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