NEST Thermostat-BlackHat-scaled

Security Of “Things” Increasingly The Stuff Of Headlines

It looks as if the mainstream media is waking to the security implications of the “Internet of Things,” in the wake of recent demonstrations at the Black Hat and DEFCON conferences that highlight vulnerabilities in everything from home automation systems to automobiles to toilets. Stories in The New York Times and other major news outlets in the last week have highlighted concerns about “the cyber crime of things” as Christopher Mims, writing in The Atlantic, called it. Insecure, Internet connected devices ranging from surveillance cameras to home heating and cooling systems could leave consumers vulnerable to remote attacks and spying. The stories come after hacks to non-traditional computing platforms stole most of the headlines from this year’s Black Hat and DEFCON shows in Las Vegas. A compromise of a Toyota Prius hybrid by researchers Charlie Miller of Twitter and Chris Valasek of IOActive was featured prominently in stories by Forbes and […]


DARPA Tests Smart, Augmenting Uniform

Everyone on the Left Coast is tweeting about Google Glass this week. But, let’s face it, @projectglass is really about dis-intermediating the viewing screen. Now, over at DARPA’s Web site, we really get to see what the future of intelligent apparel looks like, namely: the DARPA Warrior Web, a next generation augmenting and intelligent uniform. DARPA on Wednesday released photos and a video of a soldier wearing a Warrior Web prototype, which augments “the soldier’s own muscles to significantly boost endurance, carrying capacity and overall war fighter effectiveness.” The prototype shown is one of many under evaluation by the Army with the goal of providing increased protection to soldiers and reducing the “metabolic cost of carrying a typical assault load” – which is often in excess of 100 lbs, according to DARPA. Muscular-skeletal injuries due to wear and tear are a leading cause of soldiers not being deployed to action. Of course, […]

IT Security A Major Stumbling Block To Smart Manufacturing

The Internet of Things holds tremendous promise for the manufacturing space. But smart factories may still be more than a decade away, due in part to a lack of solid IT security controls, according to a survey of 1,300 German manufacturing firms and academics. The survey of 1,300 members companies and universities by the German Association for Electrical, Electronic, and Information Technologies (VDE) found that only 20% anticipated adoption of “smart production” (or “Industry 4.0” – as its referred to) by the start of the next decade. In contrast, 70% of those surveyed doubted that smart manufacturing goals would be achieved by 2025, despite obvious advantages. Why the skepticism? One commonly cited reason is a lack of strong IT security. According to a write-up on SAP’s blog, IT security was the most oft-cited obstacle to setting up smart factories. Sixty six percent of those surveyed cited security concerns as a reason to […]

Update: Researchers Use Weezer Tune To Knock Defibrillators Offline

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include comment from Medtronic and from the researchers. A bit more on that: I spoke to the fine researchers who conducted this study. They are concerned that people might casually read the headline or first couple paragraphs and conclude that listening to Weezer will kill them. Listening to Weezer will not kill you. Listening to Weezer will not interfere with your implanted defibrillator if used under normal conditions. Their experiment (and my article) make this clear, but you do have to  read down a bit in the article to get that, and I know not everyone does that. In any case, the health benefits of using an implanted defibrillator in accordance with your doctor’s instructions, far outweigh any risk from EMI or other electronic tampering. – PFR 5/22/2013. Listening to Weezer could kill you. Literally. That’s the conclusion of an unusual experiment […]