Posted on 15th August 2013 in health, home automation, Internet of Things, privacy, security

I’m hitting on the same subject, privacy and security, for two posts in a row because now there’s been an incident that really could jeopardize the future of the IoT!

Call me an alarmist if you will, but I say ignore it at your peril…

As blogged by GigaOm, ABC News reported this week on an incident where a hacker got access to a — this is getting repetitious — IoT product with laughable security.

This time, it wasn’t the main-stream media reporting just a friendly wake-up call

Foscam Baby Monitor

(literally and figuratively…) from a reporter about a vulnerability, or a general warning about possible threats to home and car: it was a story guaranteed to strike a primal fear in the heart of every parent: a threat to their infant!


Here’s what happened, according to ABC:

“A Houston couple is still shaken after saying they heard the voice of a strange man cursing and making lewd comments in the bedroom of their 2-year-old daughter.

“When Marc Gilbert and his wife Lauren entered the room, the voice cursed them as well.

“The creepy voice — which had a British or European accent — was coming from the family’s baby monitor that was also equipped with a camera. A hacker apparently had taken over the monitor.”

Are you a parent? If so, don’t tell me that wouldn’t have your blood boiling!

Oh, BTW, ABC tossed in a reminder that baby monitors can be used by potential burglars

Once again, I’ll harken back to my days as a corporate crisis consultant to warn that this is precisely the kind of incident that is going to be repeated ad nauseum by privacy advocates and others to warn about the dangers of the IoT.

Even worse, those of who are immersed in the IoT 24/7 may not realize it, but I’d bet the majority of people worldwide still haven’t heard of the IoT. Is this the way we want them to find out about it???

So my parting advice would be to go out today and buy a Foscam baby monitor (heck, they’re probably giving them away now — who the heck would buy one?) and put it in a place of prominence on your CEO’s desk as a reminder that if you don’t take privacy and security seriously, the media will be quick to remind you…


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