back to article F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen on IoT: If it uses electricity, it will go online

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at Finnish security company F-Secure, spoke to The Reg at the launch of Sense, a consumer firewall device that aims to "secure your connected things". Hypponen says IoT is unavoidable. "If it uses electricity, it will become a computer. If it uses electricity, it will be online. In future …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They lock down everything and you will not be able to program it.

    I don't see that going down well with developers and hobbyists.

    1. John Riddoch

      Re: They lock down everything and you will not be able to program it.

      Correct, but an end user who only cares about email, browsing the web and watching some videos will be happy their files aren't getting encrypted by ransomware and their online banking credentials stolen. Meanwhile, the hobbyists & developers will avoid those devices and stick with full blown Windows, Linux or Macs.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: They lock down everything and you will not be able to program it.

        these still have apps , therefore they are still vulnerable to ransomware.

        A lot less vulnerable i guess , but still vulnerable

      2. Orv Silver badge

        Re: They lock down everything and you will not be able to program it.

        I think Chromebooks are a good example of this model, actually. They can't be programmed by the average end user. There's a "developer mode" that allows programming, but getting into it requires some specific steps (well documented) and a data wipe, and it warns you each time you boot that you're in an insecure developer mode. So hobbyists still have the ability to tinker, but end users can't be easily tricked into unlocking their devices for malware.

  2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Freedome will be illegal in the UK

    Freedome is a simple defeat of the metadata logging already in place in the UK.

    As such, it contravenes the Snoopers Charter.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Freedome will be illegal in the UK

      VPNs will be classed as a communications provider and have to cough up data in near realtime, like everyone else.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Freedome will be illegal in the UK

        Even if they're based OUTSIDE the UK? How will they get past sovereign immunity?

        1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

          Re: Freedome will be illegal in the UK

          One possibility is blocking the VPN server IP addresses at the ISP's for any that don't play well with law enforcement. The way around that is a personal VPS providing your own VPN service. I'm seriously consiering that in replacement for my VPN and "Cloud Storage" currently provided by other companies. Even work out a bit cheaper here.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Freedome will be illegal in the UK

          DNS block, IP block, DPI...

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Freedome will be illegal in the UK

      Come now, the snooper's charter was only ever about catching the dumb and technically ignorant out there. Admittedly, that is most people.

      As for trying to crack down on VPN services that would end up as another pointless whack-a-mole game and seriously piss of business users. Of course the gov often dances to the red-top paper's stupid suggestions so there is a fair chance they would try, but again I suspect the real experts know your biggest risk are the local muppets who can buy knifes and rent a van, as we have seen recently.

  3. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

    Ohhhhh... yes we can !

    Because some people actually value their privacy...

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

      Er, my router, my firewall rules...

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

        Except that he is saying that in the future such devices won't use your network. Presumably they will have some sort of wireless radio for 2g/3g/4g/5g data, with eSIM and monthly costs...

        The only hope is not paying the monthly payments or somehow deaktivating the chip - and hoping that a lack of signal doesn't brick the device...

        My other half won't let anything IoT in the house (useless toys) and won't let anything (other than telephone or laptop) into the house with a microphone.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

          Good luck with that. I can imagine that in five years max high end TVs which come with a microphone either in the TV or the remote will trickle down to all models.

          And it's difficult to tell before you buy because manufacturers don't make it clear it's got a microphone, they just say it does whatever their fantastic speech recognition thing is called, and that might cover an an app on a mobile paired with the TV too.

          1. Flywheel Silver badge

            Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

            I can imagine that in five years max high end TVs which come with a microphone either in the TV or the remote will trickle down to all models

            I agree, and I believe for that reason, (although not exclusively) a Neo-Luddite subculture will pop up everywhere, de-smarting your devices for a fee. I can also predict that there'll be some sort of alternative Tor-alike Internet connected via Mesh devices.

            1. Orv Silver badge

              Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

              The best current analogy to this I can think of is On*Star in GM cars. And while there are people who disconnect the On*Star module, it's not a particularly common practice. In many cars it also triggers a check engine light, which is an automatic emissions test fail in some places, so it's more complicated than just cutting a wire.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

          " [...] and won't let anything (other than telephone or laptop) into the house with a microphone."

          Don't forget that any device with a speaker is potentially also a microphone.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

          @big-D,

          It is amazing what a pair of side cutters and a sharp pointed scriber can do to help personal security.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

            "It is amazing what a pair of side cutters and a sharp pointed scriber can do to help personal security."

            It'll quickly become the most common way to brick your appliance AND void the warranty (on account of tampering).

        4. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

          "My other half won't let anything IoT in the house (useless toys) and won't let anything (other than telephone or laptop) into the house with a microphone."

          So what happens when the inevitable happens and you need a new fridge and ALL of them are IoT-FORCED that brick if you disable or cage them?

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

            > So what happens when the inevitable happens and you need a new fridge and ALL of them are IoT-FORCED that brick if you disable or cage them?

            I'll buy a different brand.

        5. IsJustabloke Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

          "The only hope is not paying the monthly payments or somehow deaktivating the chip - and hoping that a lack of signal doesn't brick the device..."

          Yes... that's the way it'll work...

        6. rnturn

          Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

          Since we already refuse to pay a subscription for cable TV, it's not a big change in attitude for us refuse to buy products that come with a monthly subscription fee to use them. I'll find another way to make a couple of slices of bread crispy if it comes to the point that commercially available toasters need to phone home on my dime.

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

            "I'll find another way to make a couple of slices of bread crispy if it comes to the point that commercially available toasters need to phone home on my dime."

            It's coming. See https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LRq_SAuQDec

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

        "Er, my router, my firewall rules..."

        BZZT! Their network chips, their rules, and they trump you because they're up the chain. And since it's a cartel up there, with plenty of network technologies covered by patents (and they're genuine hardware-based patents), good luck trying to roll your own network chips from scratch to get around them.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

          > with plenty of network technologies covered by patents (and they're genuine hardware-based patents),

          Patents are intended to _stop_ other companies from competing. If one company holds a patent then no other company can use that mechanism without buying a licence and paying a royalty. You cannot force a company to use a patented mechanism.

          > good luck trying to roll your own network chips from scratch to get around them.

          If there is a market for devices that do not use those patented mechanisms then someone will build them, or import them from India.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

      "Since you can't secure the devices with software then you have to secure them from the network. I don't see any other way of doing it."

      I can: just don't connect them to the network. That will work for now.

      Unfortunately, you can already buy a complete system for under $10 which includes a 2G GSM modem:

      http://www.orangepi.org/OrangePi2GIOT/

      https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Orange-Pi-2G-IOT-ARM-Cortex-A5-32bit-Support-ubuntu-linux-and-android-mini-PC-Beyond/1553371_32802458477.html

      (and just for fun, it has an onboard microphone too. Not just a microphone input, an actual microphone)

      If your fridge comes with one of these, there's not much you can do, other than opening it up and chopping wires or taking out the SIM. F-Secure's firewall box will make no difference unless it comes with a mobile jammer.

      Of course, your home *network* is not at risk, but your *home* is - e.g. from people being able to work out from fridge door opening info whether you are on holiday and therefore safe to be burgled.

    3. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

      What he wants to say, I think, is that we cannot deal with a problem by ignoring it.

    4. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

      I don't understand his statement of

      <quote>

      Hypponen says IoT is unavoidable. "If it uses electricity, it will become a computer. If it uses electricity, it will be online. In future, you will only buy IoT appliances, whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not.

      </quote>

      It either needs a connection, i.e. through my router which I will not allow, or it comes with its own communication method such as 3G/4G etc in which case his software is pointless. Either way no sale.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

      According to CCFKAC*, isn't that for "The Market" to decide (mythical as it may be)?

      Or is the New Credo now that "The Market" := What The Corp.s deign to supply and the Buyer has to buy?

      * the Current Credo Formerly Known As Capitalism

  4. israel_hands

    Mixed bag of bullshit by the sound of it.

    Not sure how "future-IoT" devices are going to be net-connected without going through the owner's home network so that part makes no sense. Is a cheap toaster going to come with an embedded satellite phone and airtime contract so it can talk to base? The fact he's hawking a product that categorically can't work against these phantom connected toasters (according to his own logic) makes even less sense.

    Also, the security of locked-down systems is far from perfect and I'm not holding my breath that MS will be able to do it properly. Most likely the'll succeed in crippling the ability for users to administrate their device properly while leaving enough security holes for priviledge escalation that an attacker can gain complete control.

    1. The Mole

      That's easy. A software 'sim card' connecting to a 5g network. 5G has some stuff designed in for IOT, presumably those sims would be locked to only talking to a specific set of servers and the devices only send small relatively infrequent messages and so the manufacturer just buys 'bundle' of messages to support the number of devices they have. In bulk this will just be a few pennies per year per device.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Nothing new. Recall the original Amazon Kindle and its "Whispernet" which ran on top of the AT&T Wireless network? Same idea here. If it can reach the air, it can connect whether you like it or not, and you can bet these devices will brick if you try to Cage them or destroy their chips and/or antennae. And if ALL the manufacturers are doing it, you'll be left with a Hobson's Choice: either bend over or start living backwoods-style cooking with an open flame and storing cold stuff with a self-built icebox.

        1. israel_hands

          It'll never happen. I get fuck-all mobile reception at home because of the local geography, plenty of people are in areas of poor/no coverage and sometimes networks are unavailable.

          One or two companies may make devices that auto-brick if they can't connect but the level of backlash they'd receive would mean everyone else steps away from that particular model.

          Additionally, there will be loads of companies that don't want to add a 5G + SIM + allowance into whatever tat they're peddling.

          I can't see this working in practice, although plenty of gullible twats will buy such devices, just not enough for it to mean everything with a plug gets all this crap bundled with it.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Whispernets are more tolerant. If you can do SMS, a whispernet should be fine. 5G low-bandwidth can use lower frequencies for greater range.

            The companies will act in cartel with the government's support. Any that try to break rank won't last long as that data represents repeat business, and there's no business like repeat business. Especially when the costs to add drops rapidly toward nil.

        2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          > And if ALL the manufacturers are doing it, ...

          ... then some business will start making stuff without it specifically for the market segment that wants low-tech.

          1. Scoured Frisbee

            The automotive market appears to disagree with your optimism.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              > The automotive market appears to disagree with your optimism.

              I am not sure what you are thinking of. I can buy new cars that do not have 'connectivity', do not 'call home', do not have GPS even. I don't know of any car that limits what petrol it can use, nor where it is allowed to go.

              John Deere did produce tractors which could only be serviced by their agents, but there is a lot of push back on that, through the courts even.

          2. Mark 65 Silver badge

            If all manufacturers are doing it then a new one will appear that doesn't do it, provided that is what the customer base wants (rather than a few individuals). That is just basic economics. Don't even think that a major player wouldn't break ranks if it meant it could steal market share.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Without the cartel smothering them? One with the government's blessing? Don't be so sure.

    2. Flywheel Silver badge

      Not sure how "future-IoT" devices are going to be net-connected without going through the owner's home network

      They'll use something like this:

      https://www.silverspringnet.com/solutions/smart-cities/smart-cities-street-lights/

      I can imagine cash-strapped Councils climbing over each other to get these installed for a small fee and a chance to monitor their council tax payers.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Not sure how "future-IoT" devices are going to be net-connected"

      Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN)

      See also: LoRaWAN

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Save me from the evil "Things"!

    It sounds to me like anti virus vendors have figured out Snake oil v2.0.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Save me from the evil "Things"!

      Right - protect from IoT buying another, cloud based IoT device??? Just slam a proper firewall in front of your router accepting outbound connections only from approved devices...

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Save me from the evil "Things"!

        Whispernets. Direct, unblockable connection. Try to cage them and they'll brick.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Re: Save me from the evil "Things"!

          Whispernets. Direct, unblockable connection. Try to cage them and they'll brick.

          Breach of Christ knows how many sales and consumer goods acts anywhere outside the US. Fit for purpose etc. Ain't gonna happen.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Save me from the evil "Things"!

            Governments feel restrained. Even Germany wants in. Don't expect those Acts to stay up for long.

  6. AMBxx Silver badge
    Flame

    Fire risk?

    If I have to wrap my toaster in tin foil to stop it spying on me, is that a fire risk?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Fire risk?

      Probably. Also probably give it a valid reason for bricking.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fire risk?

        If appliances brick themselves when there's no cellphone signal, a lot of people who live in reception dead-spots are going to have serious problems.

  7. Redstone
    Unhappy

    IoT vs Users

    One thing he said that I tend to agree with is that connectivity in many devices will soon be pretty much only be about collecting user data.

    It will, no doubt, be sold as 'smart' (as in it will automatically get consumables sent to you before the old ones run out - for a subscription fee) but will mostly be collecting un-anonymised data about every aspect of your life it can hook into.

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: IoT vs Users

      .. and when will the first washing machine/toaster/microwave just beep at you when you press "start" saying "No internet connection. Check your Wifi before continuing" and refuse to wash/toast/nuke until you do?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: IoT vs Users

        Nothing. It's a cartel. You take it back and find out EVERY machine/toaster/microwave does the same thing. Plus they won't have to rely on your WiFi going forward as they'll use Whispernets, so they can connect without your ability to control it (like you say, they'll brick first if they can't get through, so forget about caging them or breaking their radio stuff). And the government isn't your friend there, as they WANT this to happen for their Big Brother campaign.

        Better consider going back to open flames and wooden iceboxes.

        1. israel_hands

          Re: IoT vs Users

          @Charles 9

          You're living in a paranoid fantasy world, ya big mentallist.

          What benefit is data on how often I use my toaster? None, and the cost of installing 5G components is > 0 as is the airtime for data comms and when it cuts into their margins they won't use it. Your illuminati-cartel isn't going to suborn every vendor into this vast conspiracy.

          And even if his practice becomes commonplace, I don't know where you get the idea of this perfect system of devices bricking if the user interferes. From what I can see 99% of vendors can't even implement basic security, which does cost them effectively nothing except for a dev pulling some crypto libraries and wrapping their protocols in them. Anything as complex as 5G connections, SIM cards, etc is not going to fly in the churn-and-burn cheapness of the IoT world.

          Oh, and as a final thing: GDPR. That's going to play havoc with the current data-slurping free for all going on so the idea of installing silent, invisible data slurpers in your home just won't fly across Europe.

          Undoubtedly some vendors will go down this route, just as some are currently selling boxes of fruit juice with DRM baked in. But that's only some, and only idiots buy their products. As has been shown time and time again, any form of DRM can and will be circumvented, and plenty of vendors will be too cheap (or conscious of creating goodwill among customers) that they simply won't bother.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: IoT vs Users

            "What benefit is data on how often I use my toaster? None, and the cost of installing 5G components is > 0 as is the airtime for data comms and when it cuts into their margins they won't use it. Your illuminati-cartel isn't going to suborn every vendor into this vast conspiracy."

            As long as it is sufficiently small, and if they get the money back by monetizing their data for use as potential shopping habits, then it can be justified as low enough to not worry much about it for a potential repeat return.

            "And even if his practice becomes commonplace, I don't know where you get the idea of this perfect system of devices bricking if the user interferes. From what I can see 99% of vendors can't even implement basic security, which does cost them effectively nothing except for a dev pulling some crypto libraries and wrapping their protocols in them. Anything as complex as 5G connections, SIM cards, etc is not going to fly in the churn-and-burn cheapness of the IoT world."

            Two words: Suicide circuit. It's not that hard to continually check for something's presence if it's electrical, and if it's electronic, there are ways to make it tough to spoof as well. They're also not that difficult to implement, even on the cheap.

            "Oh, and as a final thing: GDPR."

            It won't BE a thing for much longer. Hell, even frickin' Germany is getting in on the act. As a comic book journalist once touted, "Paranoids are just people with all the facts." Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean the world really IS out to get you. Just look at the United States.

            "Undoubtedly some vendors will go down this route, just as some are currently selling boxes of fruit juice with DRM baked in. But that's only some, and only idiots buy their products. As has been shown time and time again, any form of DRM can and will be circumvented."

            4K BluRay players haven't been cracked yet. Not have the XBox One and PS4 and their successors. A nigh-bulletproof end-to-end chain of trust complete with encryption keys is finally emerging, unique to each device, making breaking them so difficult as to be impractical (4K movies are coming from other sources, for example). Same with the newest iDevices and Androids. Haven't heard much about jailbreaking and rooting them as of late.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: IoT vs Users

              > As a comic book journalist once touted, "Paranoids are just people with all the facts."

              I am not sure that 'comic book' counts as 'journalism'. But then conspiracy theorists will believe anything.

              > Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean the world really IS out to get you.

              Settle down, take a breath, and reread your messages. The actual quote is approximately:

              "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean the world really ISN'T out to get you."

              It comes from Catch 22 by J Heller.

            2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: IoT vs Users

              > if they get the money back by monetizing their data for use as potential shopping habits

              Complete nonsense. It may be possible to collect such data if there is a built in 'shopping list' that is used by the household, but a toaster can't tell what it is used for without having barcodes on the slices of bread. It can't tell what is spread on the toast. The fridges don't know what is inside it, or, more importantly, what is not inside it but should be - not unless the user enters that voluntarily on, say, a shopping list.

              I am sure that some companies would like to build a toaster that is selective about what brands of bread it can toast (cf printers) and then charge the bread companies to be put on the list, but how do you identify the brand of bread ?

              What about washing machines that are selective about what brand of clothes they wash? Ovens that will only cook food bought from specific supermarkets? I am sure that you and other conspirisists (is that a word?) will dream up much other stuff, but only fools would buy them.

              1. Roj Blake Silver badge

                Re: IoT vs Users

                "Only fools would buy them" until such time as there is no alternative. By then, it's too late.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: IoT vs Users

                ¤ "only fools would buy them"

                ¤ No consumer is a fool.

                ¤ Therefore, no consumer will buy them.

                Hmmm, something feels not quite right with this syllogism...

                :-)

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: IoT vs Users

                RFID, coming to your house soon.

                Most users probably keep their bread near the toaster so there's a good chance the toaster could see what they are using.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IoT vs Users

        They can buffer the data and send later. When the buffer is full, then the machine could stop working, or make you call an engineer to check why the vendor isn't getting "their" data.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: IoT vs Users

          > They can buffer the data and send later. When the buffer is full, then the machine could stop working, or make you call an engineer to check why the vendor isn't getting "their" data.

          They would take it back to the shop and demand replacement or their money back under the warranty.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IoT vs Users

      "connectivity in many devices will soon be pretty much only be about collecting user data."

      So presumably Slurp will rapidly move into IoT given their expertise in this with Chrome, Google Mail, etc., etc.

  8. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coat

    Share and Enjoy!

    "Here's another of these self-satisfied doors, I can tell it is about to open by the intolerable air of smugness it suddenly generates"

    I personally don't want a load of Sirius Cybernetics stuff all around me, but that may be me

    Doffs hat to the late, great Douglas Adams

    The one with the cassettes of the HHGTG radio play in the pocket, please

    1. zebthecat

      Re: Share and Enjoy!

      So now we know why they were first up against the wall when the revolution came.

      Anyone who tries to sneak comms stuff into my toater can go stick his head in a pig!

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Share and Enjoy!

        Nope. They have connections. Try to put them up against the wall, they'll call in their friends and you'll have THEIR guns behind YOUR guns.

      2. Fred Dibnah

        Re: Share and Enjoy!

        Close - the party that brought us to this point (along with some of the other parties) used to be led by someone who stuck his cock in a pig's head. Allegedly.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Share and Enjoy!

          I think you are mistaken, are you perhaps referring to some Specsavers advert.

  9. druck Silver badge
    FAIL

    Windows 10 S secure?

    Did I really hear him say that Windows 10 S will be secure because it's not programmable? No 3rd party could ever hope to introduce more than a tiny fraction of the bugs that Microsoft will have included as standard, and will keep adding to with every non-optional update.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Windows 10 S secure?

      I will have a laugh when it will block F-Secure's software... because MS will disallow any third party security software...

    2. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Windows 10 S secure?

      >No 3rd party could ever hope

      Are you challenging us, punk?

      Signed: Adobe Inc.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Windows 10 S secure?

      It's just been hacked.

      Oh, and the source code has leaked.

      Pass the popcorn.

  10. MJI Silver badge

    Does this mean Talkie Toaster?

    I really hope not

    "Would you like some toast? Some nice hot crisp brown buttered toast. No? How about a muffin then? Nothing? You know the last time you had toast. 18 days ago, 11.36, Tuesday 3rd, two rounds. I mean, what's the point in buying a toaster with artificial intelligence if you don't like toast. I mean, this is my job. This is cruel, just cruel."

  11. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    High praise indeed for Ikea!

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Pretty amazing that a furniture maker (not even that, more often than not you have to make it yourself) managed to understand what it's about when so many companies that are in the IT sector don't.

    2. bazza Silver badge

      It's simple really, they're a vast company and can afford to do it properly.

      A lot of these IoT things are being done by quite small companies without the long standing software dev team who's only job is to keep up with Linux patches, etc. It's make it work, sell it, abandonware it ASAP and move on.

      Belkin seems to be fairly well behaved too.

  12. PickledAardvark

    Marginal costs

    "Home appliance manufacturers will be adding connectivity to every device, no matter how mundane, because the price of adding it will be marginal."

    Owing to there being an external cost on consumers, to pick up the pieces of lousy IoT implementation, governments have to get involved. Like racing drivers considering accidents, IoT manufacturers believe that it won't happen to them.

    If the cost of adding IoT functionality to my hand held torch is marginal, I'm happy if the manufacturer keeps five pence after leaving it out.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Marginal costs

      " I'm happy if the manufacturer keeps five pence after leaving it out."

      Didnt you rtfa? Its not for you're benefit , its for theirs. They want to know how often you use your torch, what batteries, how long they last , where you use it , ad infinitum

  13. VinceH Silver badge

    "We can't avoid the IoT revolution by refusing to play part."

    At the moment, we can - and I fully intend to continue doing so for as long as that remains possible.

    (And even if there is to come a point when all new gear has this data slurping built in by default, there's always second hand gear - and in some cases alternative methods of doing whatever the internet of shit devices do. These points alone should push back the point of no return quite some way.)

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      But what alternative is there to a refrigerator? Back to iceboxes and ice merchants?

  14. DougS Silver badge

    Typical snake oil salesman

    Like everyone who sells AV software. Now the threat will be in your toaster, your light bulbs, your garage door opener....eeeek!! Only I can protect you (except the device I'm hawking today won't, so you'll need to buy more from me later)

    How will these things magically connect? Obviously not ethernet, that leaves only power line networking for wired, which is easy to defend against (don't install a power line bridge) and wifi or cellular. Wifi is easy to defend against - don't tell it your wifi password. That leaves cellular. If he thinks vendors are going to make a "2 cent chip" with an integrated cellular radio he probably already owns Brooklyn Bridge so I won't need to sell it to him again.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Typical snake oil salesman

      "If he thinks vendors are going to make a "2 cent chip" with an integrated cellular radio he probably already owns Brooklyn Bridge so I won't need to sell it to him again."

      Except they ALREADY EXIST for sensor meshes. And 5G will only make this easier.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Typical snake oil salesman

        Two cents won't even cover the licensing!

        Builders will have to start putting a screen behind drywall in the walls/ceiling in new construction to kill the cell signal if crap like that every comes to pass.

  15. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    "how often do they toast, at what time of day, with what kind of bread"

    Riiiight, so now my toaster will have a camera in it, that can tell the difference between pitta and a naan bread, or somehow detect there's something on the pop up heater rack outside the toaster, and identify that (it's most likely a large naan that won't fit in the toaster, but shhh).

    Hyperbole. Toasters are seen as cheap and ubiquitous, and he's riffing about how ubiquitous the IoT will become, but this is just worthless hyperbole, I really can't see my toaster being connected to AI, the idea that toaster manufacturers can generate revenue by selling data to bakers is pretty tenuous. Or will there be sensors in toasted sandwich makers also? Will they detect the filling?

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      the day they can make a toaster that can make toast the way i asked for it - it probably will have all that hardware in it!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RFID

      If your bread has RFID in the packaging the toaster can read that, maybe not all the time but it will work enough to make it worthwhile.

      However I hadn't thought about a camera - this could come and the AI to detect what you're toasting will follow.

  16. Grunchy

    I'm not paying extra for that crap

    I'll buy the cheaper, non-IoT equipment, thanks.

    I'll do my level best to run "IoT" vendors out of business. Why?

    It serves no worthwhile purpose to me.

    Also, I'm a gonna save a buck too.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: I'm not paying extra for that crap

      It won't be cheaper because the cost to add the tat will be practically nil. The technology already exists in remote sensor meshes.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: I'm not paying extra for that crap

        > It won't be cheaper because the cost to add the tat will be practically nil.

        Just calm down, the ranting is obviously giving you a red mist you are starting to actually make sense: No, you are right, "it won't be cheaper". It will be more expensive because any added component will give rise to more warranty claims. If blocking the communication bricks the device then there will be class actions. The data collection will cost money which the buyer will have to pay for.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: I'm not paying extra for that crap

          No, they'll say the warranty is null and void because of user tampering (the radio chip and antenna would be non-user-serviceable parts). And since the government will be in on it, they'll be on the manufacturers' side.

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: I'm not paying extra for that crap

            > No, they'll say the warranty is null and void because of user tampering

            There will always be a number of devices that fail without 'user tampering'. The more parts it has, the more functions, the more failures will occur and the warranty must cover that. The more warranty claims the more cost.

            > And since the government will be in on it, they'll be on the manufacturers' side.

            The government of my country isn't "in on it" in any way. If the government of your country is then you probably deserve your fate. If that is the USA then I will only be sympathetic if you voted against the orange buffoon.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: I'm not paying extra for that crap

              Wanna bet? England wants it, France wants it, even Germany wants it. Roll that in your mind. The strongest country in the EU wants Big Brother.

            2. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: I'm not paying extra for that crap

              "There will always be a number of devices that fail without 'user tampering'. The more parts it has, the more functions, the more failures will occur and the warranty must cover that. The more warranty claims the more cost."

              Unless they're the MOST reliable parts in the machine. Remember, the tech behind it was originally developed for outdoor sensor meshes: a "set-and-forget" setup that means you can't expect someone to come along to fix it if it goes wrong.

              1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                Re: I'm not paying extra for that crap

                > Unless they're the MOST reliable parts in the machine.

                It doesn't matter that they are the most reliable. Every part has a failure rate. Having more parts brings in an extra point of failure. Thus, overall, the whole device is less reliable, no matter how slight. In particular, if it is transmitting and receiving then there may be many external reasons that it fails to do so (cf 'hold it wrong'). If this give rise to consumer complaints, or warranty claims, or adverse publicity then it costs the manufacturer via lost sales and extra costs.

                > a "set-and-forget" setup that means you can't expect someone to come along to fix it if it goes wrong.

                If it is only sending data then I don't care if it goes wrong, in fact I will make sure that it does go wrong. If 'going wrong' means that the machine stops working then I will have my money back, through the small claims court if necessary.

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: I'm not paying extra for that crap

      > I'll buy the cheaper, non-IoT equipment, thanks.

      I won't even have to do that. My toaster is around 2 decades old and is not on the 'replace' list. If only IoT ones are available in the shops for some stupid reason then it will never be replaced.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: I'm not paying extra for that crap

        "I won't even have to do that. My toaster is around 2 decades old and is not on the 'replace' list. If only IoT ones are available in the shops for some stupid reason then it will never be replaced."

        Even if it melts down? What will you do then?

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: I'm not paying extra for that crap

          > Even if it melts down? What will you do then?

          First you will have to explain how it will come about that _every_ maker will only make devices that have IoT and won't work without it. Then you will have to explain why some new startup won't come up with the idea of making a cheap low-tech device that does the same job.

          Just because [most] mobile phones are now general purpose computers that send data home, this hasn't stopped cheap 'dumb phones' being made and sold.

  17. John Sager

    Lots of tinfoil-hattery going on here

    Much of this assumes that these devices can communicate to their parent 'cloud' as if by magic. The Amazon Whispernet idea doesn't really pass the economics sniff test for a lot of them. A Kindle is quite pricey, certainly compared with a toaster, and the Whispernet only worked in the US - needed to talk via AT&T. The most obvious route is via Bluetooth or wi-fi, or perhaps even z-wave or zigbee to the home router, where this stuff should be properly policed. Home routers need to be better than they are in many ways - both security and QoS, for example, but this won't happen as long as they're still based on cheap & nasty MIPS-based SoCs. Fortunately SoC-land is getting much better in this respect so we might hope to see better products in the next few years. Customer push would help, as would reviews from hell for the stinkers. However, sadly I can see wings evolving on pigs first:(

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Lots of tinfoil-hattery going on here

      But that was before compact battery-sipping radio tech for use in things like sensor meshes appeared. And IIRC 5G can use lower frequencies for greater range and don't need a lot of data usage: more akin to SMS.

    2. patrickstar

      Re: Lots of tinfoil-hattery going on here

      Don't know exactly what features you want, but some of the "home networking"-grade MIPS SoCs are pretty darn powerful already. Including HW crypto acceleration and routing/NATing.

      Though not a lot of gear vendors really take advantage of them, so blame them instead.

    3. Rustbucket

      Re: Lots of tinfoil-hattery going on here

      "Much of this assumes that these devices can communicate to their parent 'cloud' as if by magic. The Amazon Whispernet idea doesn't really pass the economics sniff test for a lot of them. A Kindle is quite pricey, certainly compared with a toaster,"

      These kinds of devices could possibly piggyback onto the mesh networks being installed to handle the new electronic "smart meters" being installed by the electricity companies. For a small annual service fee I'm sure the electricity providers would be happy to receive a new income source.

  18. vir

    Ugh

    Go away, please.

  19. rotmos

    IoT Jammer

    If these things really will be able to go online without using Wi-Fi then there should be a market for IoT-jammers.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: IoT Jammer

      Followed thereafter by a lot of "This device is not operable." messages. And before you reply with consumer backlash, I counter with a cartel with the government's blessing.

  20. Tikimon Silver badge
    Angel

    Our Savior - the Third World?

    Plenty of places in the world do not have a wireless phone system, nor common reliable internet connection. There will always be manufacturers making products for these markets. They will not have IOT or other spying because it won't work. And there's where we can find our non-IOT appliances. We won't have to go back to beating clothes on the rocks at the creek, only buy a "developing market" washer.

    No, the big outfits won't stock those locally. But someone will if there's a demand. I know of a shop that repairs and restores vintage appliances. Most of these for for the buyer to USE, not for show, and they sell rapidly. People are willing to defrost manually because that fridge was built to last and will to your kids, not like the short-life appliances sold today.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Our Savior - the Third World?

      Um, many of those developing countries DO have cell phone networks because that's becoming the option of choice for electronic transactions. If you have a cell phone network, you can create a Whispernet. Plus, you can always get the government to lend a hand in rollouts to the remaining not-spots.

      1. Tikimon Silver badge

        Re: Our Savior - the Third World?

        Are you really claiming that there will not be huge parts of the world without internet access into the foreseeable future? When people use generators a couple of hours a day, or have the state-run power go out daily, do you think they have internet in EVERY HOME? Because the IOT thing won't work unless each home has its very own address.

        Get the government to lend a hand? What crack are you smoking? I'm referring to places like Nigeria. The corrupt government is happy letting its citizens go without many things we consider vital. Or Cuba, where USB sticks of shared content substitute for internet access. Do you imagine they'll subsidize internet access? What, so their opposition can organize against them and start a revolt?

        Sorry folks, the whole world will not be individually internet-connected for a long, long time.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Our Savior - the Third World?

          If they're THAT backwater, they're probably still using washboards and the like, in which case it's like I said: back to the open flame and the icebox. If people are willing to go THAT far back in time, then you can say electricity is overrated at that point. Talk about cutting one's nose to spite one's face.

          "Get the government to lend a hand?"

          Two words: Big Brother. I'm sure the Nigerian and Cuban regimes would be keenly interested in something like that, especially if they're told the Russians and Chinese are trying the same thing (remember where Cuba takes its cues). Not so their opposition can stage a coup, but so they can prevent one happening, like how the Iranians squelched the Arab Spring through THEIR Big Brother control.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The vendors will drive IoT

    Consider a toaster with IoT connection. Now add an RFID reader and assume that bread vendors add RFIDs to each loaf.

    RFID is not in every slice of bread yet but I keep my bread close to the toaster so I think it could read it...

    So, as a toaster vendor, now I have usage data I know exactly how cheap to build my toaster so that it lasts just longer than the proscribed "warranty" period, ie the length of time that most consumers keep their toasters for before replacing them, and as a result can save on my manufacturing costs, of course I would do that.

    Other ideas include using the toaster data to deny warranty claims for misuse, optimise energy usage, maybe combine with other data to market upgrades and promotions (yes make a deal with the bread vendors) - I can think of lots of reasons why this will happen. And that's just toasters.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: The vendors will drive IoT

      > Consider a toaster with IoT connection. Now add an RFID reader and assume that bread vendors add RFIDs to each loaf.

      Why would bread vendors add RFID? They may be cheap but they are a huge cost compared to a printed barcode on the packaging. In fact not all bread is in packaging at all.

      > I know exactly how cheap to build my toaster so that it lasts just longer than the proscribed "warranty" period,

      If devices failed so soon after the warranty expired then the consumer would buy a different brand next time.

      > ie the length of time that most consumers keep their toasters for before replacing them,

      You are suggesting that consumers replace devices merely because the warranty expired, or coincidentally on the same period. I very much doubt that is the case and is merely speculation on your part.

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: The vendors will drive IoT

      > I can think of lots of reasons why this will happen. And that's just toasters.

      Anyone can dream up simplistic and useless 'ideas', but that doesn't mean that there is a business case for implementing them.

      > optimise energy usage

      There are machines, such as washing machines, that delay operation until the electricity prices drop overnight. When I put bread in the toaster I want toast now, not at 3am. In any case there are machines with buttons for 2 slices or 4, settings for different brownness, what could it do to 'optimise' more than that?

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