Stupid smart devices

“Smart” devices are all the rage these days, and you might have some in your house. They are connected to the Internet so that you can do whatever with them from anywhere. What’s not to like about that?

Unless they aren’t really as smart as they should be. Here’s a story about a “smart” coffeemaker that was easily hacked to misbehave badly; the only solution was to unplug it.

If you think that not connecting them to your Wi-Fi is the safest bet, think again. That actually made this coffeemaker hack easier.

So what to do? Unless you know you want a smart device, buy a dumb one (if you can find one). If you go with smart, do your homework. Check reviews. Ask questions. Read the manual. Change default passwords. Update firmware. If necessary, ask a professional.

Not all threat vectors are equal. Some vulnerabilities are not easily exploited. Others are not particularly harmful. But some are both easily exploited and potentially harmful. Do your homework now to avoid a rude awakening later.

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