Here’s a video you will want to watch. “The Wolf: The Hunt Continues” is really an ad showing how a hacker can enter a network through an unprotected printer (or robot). Christian Slater stars as the evil hacker.
“There are hundreds of millions of business printers in the world and less than 2% are secure,” said Vikrant Batra, Global Head of Marketing for Printing & Imaging, HP. “Everyone knows that a PC can be hacked, but not a printer.” [Hence the need to inform about how easily a printer can be hacked and the consequences of that.]
Although not related to the recent WannaCry hack which held hundreds of thousands of companies ransom and downloaded millions of personal records before destroying billions more, HP, this 7-minute terrifying advertisement for securing inconsequential devices dramatizes what can happen if we don’t stay a step ahead of the threats that are out there waiting to happen. As companies attempt to stream and analyze data from their Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and software and from varied pieces of equipment and sensors throughout their facilities, opportunities such as the one described in the HP video will certainly happen.
One that comes to mind is FANUC’s plan to network all its CNCs, robots and peripheral devices and sensors used in automation systems with the goal of optimizing up-time, maintenance schedules and manufacturing profitability. FANUC is collaborating with Cisco, Rockwell and Preferred Networks to craft a secure system which they’ve named FIELD. Let’s hope it works.
Fortune Magazine recently reported about consumer products that spy on their users by companies attempting to learn new business models based on data:
What do a doll, a popular set of headphones, and a sex toy have in common? All three items allegedly spied on consumers, creating legal trouble for their manufacturers.
In the case of We-Vibe, which sells remote-control vibrators, the company agreed to pay $3.75 million in March to settle a class-action suit alleging that it used its app to secretly collect information about how customers used its products. The audio company Bose, meanwhile, is being sued for surreptitiously compiling data—including users’ music-listening histories—from headphones.
For consumers, such incidents can be unnerving. Almost any Internet-connected device—not just phones and computers—can collect data. It’s one thing to know that Google is tracking your queries, but quite another to know that mundane personal possessions may be surveilling you too.
So what’s driving the spate of spying? The development of ever-smaller microchips and wireless radios certainly makes it easy for companies. As the margins on consumer electronics grow ever thinner, you can’t blame companies for investigating new business models based on data, not just on devices.