It’s pretty obvious when a major internet service provider is under some kind of attack: The service gets bad and slow, error messages pop up all over, and everyone basically knows something is not right. But it’s a lot harder to tell is some other web-connected device you use is acting strange because it’s old, or is broken… or remotely attacking the internet on the other side of the globe. [More]
internet of things
We learned back in 2015 that while all smart TVs collect data on your viewing habits, Vizio was going above and beyond, collecting more information than most, and telling you even less about it. As you might expect, loads of folks who owned Vizio TVs were deeply unhappy about this, and sued the company. And now, a judge has denied Vizio’s motion to dismiss that suit, meaning it will indeed have to defend itself in court. [More]
At Consumerist, consumer privacy and data security have been growing areas of coverage over the past few years. We regularly write about policies, corporate and government alike, that either threaten or help safeguard your privacy. We cover data breaches big and small, and investigate tips from you, our readers. We offer advice about good practices that can help protect you and your data, and try to give you a heads-up when a company changes something that might affect you. And when your kid’s doll is recording what you say and sending the information to a defense contractor — Consumerist is there.
But we’re excited to announce a new initiative that will allow us to do much, much more. [More]
CloudPets are not cute little adoptable cumulonimbus and cirrus toys for your kid to play with. Instead, they are traditional dog, cat, and bear stuffed animals that relay voice messages between an adult and a kid through the digital cloud. Which in and of itself is not necessarily a bad idea, even if it’s not your style. What is a bad idea, however, is failing to secure your server, and making more than 2 million of those very personal messages public, for anyone on the internet to grab. [More]
Consumers make millions of purchases each year through their phones with systems like Apple Pay, PayPal, Samsung Pay, and other programs. But soon, people might be able to use any number of other connected devices to buy products or pay for services, as IBM and Visa announced a partnership to bring payment systems to a number of “smart” products. [More]
What do you get when you combine Internet of Things devices, an overworked network, and an over abundance of seafood-related domain searches? A university attacked by its own malware-infected connected devices. [More]
Vizio got busted early this week for spying on users and sharing their data without permission. But the key there is the “without permission” part, because pretty much all smart TVs are collecting and sharing some kind of data on you. And so many consumers are now asking: Can I make them stop? [More]
Raising a baby can be pretty nerve-wracking, especially for first-time parents. Babies make weird sounds, do bizarre things, and can’t describe when something’s actually wrong. Meanwhile, it’s 2017 and our solution to basically every old problem is: “Have you tried throwing new technology at it?” [More]
It’s unlikely that anyone other than the most stubborn users are still using the original iPhone or feature phones from the era of 2G networks, but AT&T has announced that it has finally cut these users off. [More]
A security camera in your house, that you can access remotely, might seem like a good idea at first. You can log into it from anywhere, to see what’s going on and if it really was the cat who opened your kitchen cabinets every day last week. But the problem with a thing you can access remotely is that a sufficiently determined bad actor can, too. And sometimes it doesn’t even take much determination to do. [More]
Internet-connected (“smart”) devices are becoming ubiquitous, but they have this persistent problem: they’re internet-connected. A huge number are extremely vulnerable to being taken over by bad actors, for a whole host of reasons. And so, before your fridge becomes part of the next record-breaking botnet, the Federal Trade Commission wants to give someone cold, hard, cash money for coming up with a way to prevent it. [More]
A massive denial of service attack last week has already resulted in the recall of a number of webcams that may have been used to aid hackers in taking popular sites like Twitter, Github, Reddit, and others offline throughout the day. Now, lawmakers are asking federal agencies what else can be done to prevent future attacks. [More]
Ever since “smart,” connected devices began to form the internet of things a few years back, some experts have warned that we could be facing a future where your toaster, washing machine, and TV become part of a sophisticated botnet used to attack others. Well, those experts say, the future is now. [More]
If growing up on Star Trek: The Next Generation reruns taught us anything, it’s that the future would be brought to us by computers that could recognize our voice commands and do whatever we asked. And while none of the products on the market today sound like the late Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, we are still surrounded by machine-generated female voices that answer our questions, queue up our favorite tunes, and dim our room lights on request. But the dominant player in that space is one that, just a few years ago, nobody would have expected — because it’s Amazon, not Google, connecting homes.
This is, unfortunately, becoming one of the most predictable stories of the early 21st century. It goes something like this: new tech product comes on the market. Consumers, finding product solves their problem, eagerly buy. Then the company that made the product turns off the server that made the thing “smart,” and suddenly early adopters are up a creek with no recourse.
A big tech deal was announced between two international companies today. Japan-based SoftBank bought UK-based ARM for $32 billion, a sentence that’s meaningless to most of us. But put another way, it starts to make a whole lot more sense: the company that owns Sprint just bought the company that makes the parts that make your iPhone actually work.
Is there any everyday item that wouldn’t benefit from adding some electronic components and Bluetooth connectivity? Of course not! That’s why you can now buy, in actual stores, a pregnancy test with Bluetooth connectivity. This is apparently because Millennial women are in their peak child-having years, and are incapable of sitting for three minutes without syncing our smartphones to something. [More]
There’s a serious problem with “smart” devices that can power items in your home: many of them are designed so that they only work with their creators’ cloud service. That’s fine, as long as your internet access is reliable and the company doesn’t go out of business or decide to shut off the servers where those cloud services run. Unlike Nest, companies should probably anticipate that some users might be a bit upset about this. [More]