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The Internet of Things: Adult Toy Hack Illustrates Not-So-Playful Risk
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The Internet of Things: Adult Toy Hack Illustrates Not-So-Playful Risk - Executive Leadership Articles

The Internet of Things: Adult Toy Hack Illustrates Not-So-Playful Risk

Executive Leadership Articles

The Internet of Things: Adult Toy Hack Illustrates Not-So-Playful Risk

The headlines, which for reasons of decorum we will not quote, were titillating the day a hacker presented his work at DEF CON, the annual hacker convention in Las Vegas. The hacker had applied his talents to gaining control of an adult sex toy connected via Bluetooth to a mobile app. The very concept raises all kinds of racy questions, but beneath the puns are some very real issues worth considering as seemingly every market—niche and mainstream—explores the possibilities of the Internet of Things.

The concept is simple: the device would be worn by its user. Its connectivity meant that the user (or, ostensibly, the user’s partner) could control it remotely from a mobile app, for the user’s pleasure.

In his presentation, the hacker revealed the disturbingly simple hack. Essentially, he hacked the toy’s dongle, the device connecting the toy to mobile app. Uploading his own code to the dongle gave him control of the device through a vulnerability in the chip itself. Although the manufacturer of the chip has closed the vulnerability, devices of every kind purchased before the correction could still be using them, something a skilled hacker would have no trouble identifying.

Once in control of the dongle, the hacker was able to modify the app, and once in control of the app, he had control of the device the app resided on, opening the door to all kinds of mischief or malice.

Nobody thinks when buying an app-controlled cute toy (of the personal pleasure variety or any other variety) he or she may be putting at risk privacy, files, money, or text messages, but that’s what’s going on here. Control of the device means control of other apps, use of the camera and microphone, knowledge of user’s location, and the ability to upload malware.

There are so many technologies built into every device, and as we’ve said many times, a device is only as secure as its weakest link. In this case, there’s an alarming older (vulnerable) technology on which the newer technology sits, and how is the average consumer supposed to know? Until standards in best practices are in place, hacks like this will continue to put people at risk.

Tangentially, the hacker brings up the ethical question on the hack: because of the sexual nature of this device, does unauthorized control constitute sexual assault, and if it does, does it amplify the responsibility of the manufacturers and marketers? These questions highlight the enormous, wide-reaching implications of our technology and how we sell it.

Reference link:
https://gizmodo.com/buttplug-hacker-talks-security-consent-and-why-he-hac-1837252628

 

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The Internet of Things: Adult Toy Hack Illustrates Not-So-Playful Risk - Executive Leadership Articles

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