back to article If we must have an IoT bog roll holder, can we at least make it secure?

Greater accountability is needed in the rush to connect absolutely everything to the net – including toilet roll holders and pregnancy tests – Europol's CyberCrime Centre advisor and Intel Security CTO Raj Samani has said. "It is an internet of vulnerable things," he told The Register at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. "Go …

  1. Steve K Silver badge

    IOT pregnancy test - Really?

    Why would you tweet something like that given that at least 1/3 of pregnancies fail in the first few weeks?

    Unless you are tweeting "Not pregnant - Phew!" after a trip to Magaluf...

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    IOT Bog Roll holder?

    The mind bogles.

    Perhaps it will be programmed to say,

    "I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you have any more paper. You have used your quota of three sheets for today."

    Talk about an answer waiting for a question... Sheesh. No, No and thrice No.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: IOT Bog Roll holder?

      Genius! Take apart an old mechanical mouse, connect one encoder wheel to the big roll axle. Interface the mouse's USB to a tablet...

      Result: As you use the bog roll, you scroll through the eBook you are reading automatically!

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: IOT Bog Roll holder?

        NB. My idea is both useful AND secure!

        The alternative is to have a printer mounted above the bogroll holder, so that you can read War and Peace directly from your two-ply as you use it, one sentence at a time.

        Hmmm... Choice of ink would be crucial.

    2. Alister Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: IOT Bog Roll holder?

      Anyone who would market an IoT bog roll holder is three sheets to the wind...

    3. LDS Silver badge

      "you have used your quota of three sheets for today."

      I would like one for hands paper towels here at the office. Some guys needs meters of then every time they wet their hands.... after all it's free, so why being educate, not waste it uselessly, and leave some for others too?

      If it can be used to automatically fine them for the excess usage the better... so maybe even IoT could be eventually useful?

    4. CustardGannet
      Terminator

      "maybe even IoT could be eventually useful?"

      @ LDS : you're not wrong, I say I say you're not wrong.

      Facts :

      1) I share an abode with 2 females

      2) A single roll (~210 sheets) is frequently finished in 24 hours

      3) I know that I normally use <20 sheets per day.

      Conclusion:

      The average female (in my abode) uses ~90 sheets per day.

      So if a bogroll version of HAL is available, I'll happily fork out for one, and set myself as the Administrator.

      ROTM icon, naturally.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "maybe even IoT could be eventually useful?"

        3) I know that I normally use <20 sheets per day.

        Somewhere, this data is being stored for evaluation and future use. They may conclude that you're constipated, or very unhygienic, or that you hold your guts until you get to work, or that you have a very healthy diet, always get a clean break, and that you're a "folder" not a "scruncher".

        Future employers are already blacklisting you just in case, toilet roll makers are preparing a smear campaign against the likes of you, and a whole range of product retailers are preparing to offer you everything from organic vegan wholegrain products to stool softeners.

        1. PNGuinn
          Coat

          Re: "maybe even IoT could be eventually useful?"

          @ Ledswinger.

          "... toilet roll makers are preparing a smear campaign ..."

          Comment of the week, I'd say. Upvoted.

          BTW, how DID you get the name Ledswinger? EMNTK etc.

          Thanks, it's the one with the bulk centre pull roll in the pockets ...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IOT Bog Roll holder?

      Not as bad as

      "I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that..."

      Where can you go then?

    6. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: IOT Bog Roll holder?

      Given the totally shitty security on these devices it'll only be minutes, if not seconds, before your loo paper is hijacked, to be released only on payment.

      Talk about being caught with your pants down.

    7. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: IOT Bog Roll holder?

      "Talk about an answer waiting for a question... Sheesh. No, No and thrice No."

      Actually, this is one of the few bits of IoT nonsense that could make sense. Probably not in a domestic situation, where it's generally quite easy to tell how much loo roll you have left, but in large offices and other commercial situations where there could be hundreds or even thousands of people using toilets every day. This is especially the case in places like airports and hospitals where use can be quite erratic - cancel a few planes so there are lots of people stuck waiting, or have a bunch of people go down with a stomach bug, and suddenly you might run low on toilet roll in a way that routine inspection might not catch.

      It's essentially just stock management - you don't generally need it in your own home, but once you start dealing with amounts beyond a certain level some kind of automated monitoring can be a lot of help.

  3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Let the market decide. If you want an internet-connected toiled holder, fine.

    Lovely idea... Reporting diarrhea live on twitter. Oh, I forgot, that is just twitter's business as usual.

    So nothing to see here, move along.

    1. IsJustabloke
      Trollface

      Re: Let the market decide. If you want an internet-connected toiled holder, fine.

      "Reporting diarrhea live on twitter. Oh, I forgot, that is just twitter's business as usual"

      Yes but that's just VERBAL.....

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Let the market decide. If you want an internet-connected toiled holder, fine.

        Yes but that's just VERBAL.....

        That's true.. at least for now, but the way things are going with IoT, social media, etc... who knows what will be delivered next..

  4. hatti

    Just A Thought

    At least if your security gets compromised and you panic, you're fully equipped to deal with the fallout.

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Just A Thought

      Are you referring to the Bog Roll holder or the pregnancy test...?

      1. hatti

        Re: Just A Thought

        I was referring to the bog roll holders fully loaded cartridge

    2. PNGuinn
      FAIL

      Re: Just A Thought

      "At least if your security gets compromised and you panic, you're fully equipped to deal with the fallout."

      Only if your kharzy is equipped with an internet connected fan ...

  5. Commswonk Silver badge

    It's only 3rd March...

    Semani said he has seen a recent number of bizarre IoT devices such as a proof of concept for a pregnancy test that tweets the results, and a connected toilet paper holder that lets the user know when they are running low on bog roll.

    If stories like this can appear on 3rd March I dread to think what April 1st will bring.

  6. Mage Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Problem is developers?

    Maybe some of the issues are, but I would bet on Bosses, Beancounters, Marketing.

    They metaphorically put fingers in ears and La La La La when any issue is raised.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Problem is developers?

      Metaphorically? I've literally seen it! Well, to be honest it wasn't La La La La, but the marketard had his eyes closed, his fingers in his ears, and was yelling "I can't hear you!" at the top of his lungs. It was quite surreal. I fired him.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The more I read..

    ...about IoT things the more I come to the conclusion that they are all insecure answers looking for problems, finding non but adding total insecurity to everything they come into contact with.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "connected toilet paper holder - lets the user know"

    They are deep in sh*t... Has the electronics industry ever been more out of touch with consumers??? And yet full 'steam' ahead... Politicians and industry cheerleaders appear addicted to fake promises from fake analysts about the potential of the sector. But as a Reg staffer said after seeing an IoT hairbrush: ...'Our species does not deserve to survive'...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IoT Bogroll - All logic has been flushed

    Vizio Smart TV's lead the way in criminal activity. Android Smartphones slurping + Win10 spying not far behind. Its just a privacy clusterf*ck...

    Is Scient*logy behind this, because all logic seems to have been flushed!

    Never seen so many media or industry tech-heads so brainwashed before...

    Never felt more embarrassed to work in tech... Retailers are just Zombies.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: IoT Bogroll - All logic has been flushed

      In fairness to Vizio, LG had been previously caught harvesting data from their smart TVs. There is a Vizio TV sold by Richer Sounds that looks handy because it still has VGA in, in addition to more recent ports.

      My mate has an LG OLED, but it isn't connected to the internet. Ohh, those perfect blacks on OLED are just lovely.

  10. Dominion

    Which way round

    Will it report if the toilet roll is installed incorrectly with the loose end at the back?

    1. Pedigree-Pete
      Pint

      Re: Which way round

      Phew! I'm not the only pedant to turn around improperly loaded bog rolls. I sometimes catch myself wanting to fold a nice point into the next sheet to dispense. Must be my earlier career in Hostility. PP

      Icon for Gratuitous Hostility.

    2. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Which way round

      Will it report if the toilet roll is installed incorrectly with the loose end at the back?

      Unexpected item in the bogging area

    3. Black Betty

      Re: Which way round

      Loose end should go to the back.

      1) The roll won't snag on protruding screw heads.

      2) If you fold upwards, as most people do, it puts the dimpled side of the paper to the outside, and I much prefer dimples on my butt to pimples. Practically, the dimples catch, hold and remove more waste than the obverse.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Which way round

        Oh crikey.. a bog roll pedant. What's next in pedantry?

  11. Christopher Reeve's Horse
    Alert

    I bought an internet connected dishwasher...

    just so that I can take delight in never connecting it to my internet! Smash the system!

    (and it still manages to wash the dishes just fine...)

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: I bought an internet connected dishwasher...

      Ah, but the next generation will object to just having this menial task of cleaning the dishes, longing for a better utilisation of their brain*. This will give rise to The IoT Psychiatrist, a modified access point to counsel** your frustrated IoT devices by running Elisa.

      Plans for The IoT Psychiatrist will be available on Hackaday.

      * probably not yet the size of a planet, but still...

      ** but still not letting them connect to the actual Internet.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I bought an internet connected dishwasher...

        That's ELIZA ...

  12. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Rang up the helpline of the toilet roll IoT manufacturer today....

    ...told them that it had got through five rolls in the space of a day.

    Ah, they said, you must have a bug.

  13. DougS Silver badge

    What's the risk of a hacked IoT bog roll holder?

    So long as it doesn't have a camera or a microphone (ewww!) the worst possible outcome would be for it to falsely report the state of the roll.

    So either you send a janitor to the bathroom unnecessarily (I'm making the hopeful assumption no one would buy this for their home) or you're no worse off than you were when you had "manual" roll checking when the janitors came in to clean the bathroom on their regular schedule.

    I guess if someone hacks Trump's White House bathroom, the risk is he might have to press a button to call someone at 3am to bring him a roll, and he'll use his *ahem* downtime to tweet something inane.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: What's the risk of a hacked IoT bog roll holder?

      So long as it doesn't have a camera or a microphone (ewww!) the worst possible outcome would be for it to falsely report the state of the roll.

      The risk? How about it talks to Amazon and starts delivering cases.. not rolls or bundles, to your door. Your bank account and storage area for said packages will soon be in danger.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's the risk of a hacked IoT bog roll holder?

      "and he'll use his *ahem* downtime to tweet something insane"

      FTFY

  14. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    Hah!

    your kids not getting job they wanted because someone guessed the name of their password and started tweeting racist stuff

    Sounds more like a problem with outright PC fascism and company-oriented virtue signaling than anything else.

    But I hear Blue Bird Cookoo Cage is being purged with extreme prejudice in any case, wait until the AIs deploy. There won't be racist twattering anymore.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Hah!

      Looks like you're seeing the issue as black or white, DAM.

  15. jake Silver badge

    First thing that came to mind:

    Soil stack exception error ... core dumped.

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