A Christmas Hangover From Smart Devices

Editor’s note: This is reposted from Veracode’s blog.

Just in time for the holidays, I received an e-mail by way of Electric Imp. If you’re not familiar with the “Imp,” (my phrase, not theirs), it’s a PaaS that makes it easy to build and connect smart devices.

Products like the ‘Porkfolio’ smart piggy bank will be popular gifts. But recipients may be feeling a security and privacy hangover in the months that follow.

Among the cool gift ideas Electric Imp was promoting: a whole line of products produced by the company Quirky along with GE under the “Wink: Instantly Connected” products banner and available at Best Buy and other stores. There’s Egg Minder, an Internet-connected egg tray that tracks how many eggs you have left in your fridge, and how fresh each of them is. Not your thing? How about Nimbus? It’s a “customizable Internet-connected dashboard that lets you “track the data that affects your life, from commute times and weather to social media and more.” Nimbus looks like someone ripped the gauges out of a Corvette and hooked it up to the Internet. For your kids, there’s Porkfolio, a piggy bank that “connects to the Internet and lets you track your balance and keep an eye on savings via your smartphone.”

Nice! Or is it? The truth is we don’t know. But I have a sneaking suspicion that consumers will be suffering from an acute Christmas hangover – and one that doesn’t have anything to do with eggnog. Rather, I think that the weeks and months following the Christmas holiday will reveal that a number of so-called “intelligent” products that were pushed to consumers in time for the holiday season are quite dumb when it comes to security and privacy.

For one thing, the barriers to making connected devices have never been lower. In fact, companies like Electric Imp and Thingworx make it easy for even novice developers and start ups to cobble together a new smart product, providing an IP address to some previously inanimate object.

Continue reading over on the Veracode blog!

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