I want you to take at the picture above. What do you see? Does anything look harmful or dangerous? Would you even say something looks scary? Obviously, nothing in this photo seems harmful. When I look at this, I see a sense of peace. A cozy spot, the touch of a scroll on a device, and a nice cup of coffee. For this week, we were given an investigation assignment. The “darkness” that fills the internet and leaves people unaware and skeptical about what Big Brother is really up to. Well, I am here to tell you, after doing some digging, this picture no longer seemed comforting.
The Twitter thread (https://twitter.com/stuartmarks/status/947198282064908288) had many topics to chose from. The question was asked, “What’s the most absurd/invasive thing that tech platforms do or have done that sounds made-up but is actually true?” from Twitter user @hypervisble. As I scrolled past several interesting articles, one, in particular, stood out. “How a Coffee Machine Infected Factory computers with Ransomware” by Waqas. (https://www.hackread.com/how-a-coffee-machine-infected-factory-computers-with-ransomware/). That’s creepy, isn’t it? Immediately, I started my investigation. According to that article, there was an incident where thousands of coffee makers were reported to be running by Windows XP computers and software. I wanted to check the credibility of this source and what I found was alarming.
Cecile Borkhataria writes the article, “Is Your Smart Coffee Maker a National Security Risk?” (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4881798/Is-smart-coffee-maker-national-security-risk.html). Here are the highlights of the article that I found important and will discuss further along in the post. (All credited from the source above.)
- ‘The federal government orders billions of dollars worth of Internet of Things devices each and every year,’ said Colorado Senator Gardner. (Borkhataria)
- These are things that can be hacked into. You can certainly read what people are doing and maybe even eavesdrop on a conversation people are having. (Borkhataria).
- In 2016, 500,000 items were potentially at risk of being activated without their owner’s knowledge, with everything from baby monitors, DVR’s, security cameras, and other gadgets turned into cyber weapons. (Borkhataria).
- The University of Princeton found that details of your private habits within your own home could be sold on to advertisers by broadband providers. Information transmitted by products ranging from home security cameras, toasters, and sleep monitors could be sold to third parties to help them target their products. (Borkhataria).
Now, I know what you’re thinking. It’s not a surprise that the government has absolutely no sense of privacy. What made me squirm of a coffee maker was the simple fact…it’s a coffee maker..
.like? A coffee maker? They already have access to our phones and laptops, why the coffee maker? That’s just low to me. They have reached an all-time low. Coffee is made for relaxation, not spying.
Anyway, I am done ranting. All seriousness, is this what the future holds for us and the next generation? Something that was stated in the article that was interesting was what Senator Gardner said about having laws against these household items being used for the invasion of privacy of innocent people. “We’re facing kind of a brave new world when it comes to these things, and we need to be prepared from a policy standpoint to address it. Although this legislation only applies to devices purchased by the government, hopefully, it changes to all applied devices sold in the private sector will apply,” Senator Gardner. (Borkhataria). Understandingly so, I became a little paranoid and tried to convince my parents to throw out our coffee maker…and our tv…and our fridge.
I guess the main question I had during all of this was the same concern from Senator Gardner. Should the government start to think about laws and repercussions when it comes to today’s connectedness? Are we too connected in 2019? Have we lost sight as to why the internet and smart devices were created in the first place or was this the end game all along?
I am excited for the discussion that will take place next week about what others found during their investigation! Here’s my response on Twitter about this topic: (https://twitter.com/ColorfulWriter2/status/1091843372921303045)
Until Next Time!