• Tag Archives IoT
  • Australia vs insecure IoT devices

    Heh good luck with that…..

    Australia seems to be interested in taking a stand against insecure IoT devices.


    Internet-connected products from baby monitors to sports shoes will soon bear a mandatory Australian cyber security consumer rating amid growing alarm at hacking of everyday devices.

    The Turnbull government is pushing the technology industry to come up with its own consumer advice rating that could be a “cyber kangaroo” logo giving a tick of approval or a star system similar to the health stars on some packaged food, and energy stars on electrical appliances.

    I mean yeah, good on ya mate and all, but that horse is so far gone, you ain’t ever going to get any sort of control (security) over these sorts of devices any time soon.
    Now, should we just give up then, and let anything come into the country?
    Well, no, but nothing about their approach thus far has left me with any confidence that they can manage this intelligently. (For example, they want encryption, but not for the bad guys).

    He said he recently began talks with the US and Britain about harmonising the three countries’ approach to the problem in order to set an example to the rest of the world.

    Mr Tehan said any regime in Australia would ultimately need to cover imported products as well as those made here. Most basic household web-enabled devices were made in Asia, he said.

    “What we want industry to do is come up with standards that they think are minimum requirements for IoT devices.

    “And that ultimately we want to apply to imported products as well.

    “If you’re a reputable manufacturer of baby monitors, if it becomes public that your devices aren’t cyber secure, my view is that’s going to hurt your reputation. That is what we are hoping will drive the change.”

    Here is a bit of the problem, they are talking about three very different countries, USA, UK and Aus. Yeah. Good luck getting those three to agree.

    But, the last sentence is where it really unravels…. They say that simply shaming the company is going to cause a change. No. It won’t.
    I really don’t think that this is enough to drive the change.

    So, yeah, good to have the conversation, and start the ball moving, but I sort of feel sorry for my geek brothers down under, buying the cool hardware is going to get even harder and more expensive than it already is.

  • IoT network in Australia

    I think someone may regret this…..


    The Australian government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is to invest AU$10m in IoT network builder Thinxtra in exchange for 15 percent equity.

    Sydney-based Thinxtra last year obtained the licence to roll out French network company Sigfox’s low-powered, wide area network (LPWAN) technology across Australia and New Zealand, with an ambitious aim of covering 95 percent of both countries’ populations by the end of 2017. The LPWAN technology runs independently from telco IoT networks in Australia and New Zealand, but taps into these networks for data backhaul.

    Honestly, go read the article, its pretty short.

    I want to make two comments……
    Firstly, what is with the idea that the monitoring network is using lots of energy?
    Of all the ‘low hanging fruit’ for Australia to save energy, I would not have guessed that IoT devices would be right up there.

    Secondly, I totally agree with the closing paragraph. All very well to have a monitoring network, but if you want to make a difference, you need control.
    Monitor, analyze, control.
    With this network, there is no control. Ever.

    I think someone may regret this decision.

  • IBM Watson Gateway Device

    Just incase you were wondering what we were up to in the Opto 22 studio….
    (I don’t recommend that any of you watch it, it’s just an FYI)

    Paul is editing the second one now and I am writing the script for the third video – they are more workshop videos than this one, so might be of more interest to you lot….

  • Smart clothes peg

    We interrupt this series of very important vodka and movie blog posts to throw this bit of tech news at you…. Yes, it’s an IoT thing. Again.

    This just cracked me up in all sorts of ways.


    The latest attempt to make a household object smarter is Peggy, a connected clothes peg by Australian detergent company OMO. A few basic components sit inside its orange shell, including a thermometer, UV sensor and humidity detector. These track the weather outside and, in the case of impending rain, trigger timely alerts to your phone over WiFi. So if the clouds roll in and you’re busy with something else — maybe you’re out of the house, but someone else is indoors — you won’t be left with soggy washing.

    I love it. Totally nuts, and the cool thing is, because its Australian, they know it’s silly and they don’t care. No fragile egos here Chopper.

    Even the video caused a huge smile over me ugly mug.

    A smart clothes peg to get your kids down the beach or playing cricket!
    It clearly is one of those things that you never knew you needed, but can’t live without….. Seriously though, it looks like a nice UI on the smartphone side of things and they add value with the estimated drying time.

    No word on the battery life. If they made it just a little bigger on the top and shoved a solar panel on there, they might not have had to worry about that aspect of it, but then again, that would put the price up (no word on that either).

    Also loving the fact that the temperature is in celsius.

    Why so funny for me? Because clothes lines (here in SolCal, in most HOA’s) are illegal. Thats right, you are not allowed to hang your clothes out to dry in the convertible capital of the world. Mild temperatures and low humidity all day, every day, all year around, and no, don’t be using the sun to get that beautiful fresh dry clothes… Nope, shove it in the gas/electric tumble dryer, run up your power bill and beat the crap out of your clothes is the only way over yonder pond.

    Smart clothes peg? Shut up and take my money!

  • Precrime via IoT

    It’s happening.
    We have got to the point where there is a concentrated effort from a nation’s government to collect all the data it can about each and every citizen and then feed all that to an AI and look for patterns.
    Of course all this is in the name of safety…. But as I have said in the past, I am into tech, not politics, so how it gets sold to people is beyond the scope of my little brain.


    It’s “precrime” meets “thoughtcrime.” China is using its substantial surveillance apparatus as the basis for a “unified information environment” that will allow authorities to profile individual citizens based upon their online behaviors, financial transactions, where they go, and who they see.

    As Defense One’s Patrick Tucker reports, the Chinese government is leveraging “predictive policing” capabilities that have been used by US law enforcement, and it has funded research into machine learning and other artificial intelligence technologies to identify human faces in surveillance video.

    The Chinese government has plenty of data to feed into such systems. China invested heavily in building its surveillance capabilities in major cities over the past five years, with spending on “domestic security and stability” surpassing China’s defense budget—and turning the country into the biggest market for security technology. And in December, China’s government gained a new tool in surveillance: anti-terrorism laws giving the government even more surveillance powers and requiring any technology companies doing business in China to provide assistance in that surveillance.

    The law states that companies “shall provide technical interfaces, decryption and other technical support and assistance to public security and state security agencies when they are following the law to avert and investigate terrorist activities”—in other words, the sort of “golden key” that FBI Director James Comey has lobbied for in the US.

    So what do we have here? In a nutshell, all the personal IoT data that we have been talking about for the past twoish years.
    I had no idea that things were so advanced in China in this regard.
    One quote in there really jumped out at me…. “spending on “domestic security and stability” surpassing China’s defense budget—and turning the country into the biggest market for security technology.”
    I really wish I had some time to dig into that fact and double check it… It just blows my mind that they are spending more on domestic security than defense…. that is a number that I just really want to question….
    That aside, in a nutshell, I have read that the iPhone is selling gangbusters in China, so, if that is the case, then can it be said that the Chinese government has no trouble getting the information they need from everyone’s phone?

    How might this be possible? We all leak data. We all have an electronic smog signature that is unique to each of us. Even our encrypted data leaves a trail. In order for our devices to work, to interoperate with other devices, there is a handshake, a data exchange, encrypted or otherwise. That handshake is unique for each device. It is trivial then to build a pattern of time and use even if the actual conversation is unreadable.

    The problem is this (as I see it), they (we) do not have a model for what a pre-crime terror act looks like.
    AI is good at identifying cars because we can set it up on a public road and teach it what cars look like. It learns and builds confidence in identifying cars.
    AI is like a child, it learns from its parents, it watches them to know what it should and should not do.
    Just data, with no context, with no end goal, is just noise, no matter how much you throw at it, it still can not learn any patterns if there is no model patten.
    It would seem the Chinese are working on this part, but since they do not have a pattern, they are only looking for things they consider obvious, a person with no known family members overseas making lots of off shore phone calls for example.

    So what’s really going on?

    My buddy Dan pointed out many many years ago that the scales tipped when the phone directory switched and put the business up front and the people at the back. He was so insightful that it is a little scary. People have become the new currency. Who we are, who we talk to, where we shop etc is the way money changes hands.
    Sure, China might be spinning it as safety and acts of terror preventer, but the fact is, those events do not happen daily, money changes hands every second of every day and night… In other words, a nation wide ‘security system’ needs to pay for itself between acts of terror.

    You will not be able to buy or sell without your electronic smog signature before long… Now where have I heard that before?