January 17, 2014

CES 2014 Through the Eyes of a Hacker

Connected things were in full force at CES 2014 and there was plenty of evidence that the Internet of Things (IoT) is upon us. Devices like Toshiba’s smart mirror and a slew of new intelligent robots spanned the showroom floor. Connected things were literally everywhere – and so were their sensors.

Untitled drawing (3)

Among the many connected things, was a section dedicated to medical devices, and unsurprisingly more than half of these were connected. I found no less than a dozen connected devices designed to manage diabetes, a handful of devices that track your medical history and literally hundreds that monitor your vital signs. We should anticipate that this data is going to be collected and that some of its uses may surprise us.

During CES 2014, Jim Farley, Ford’s Executive VP of Global Marketing Sales said, “We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing. By the way we don’t supply that data to anyone.”

Jim Farley’s statement came as a shock to many consumers who are unaware of the data being collected and stored. Clearly informing users about data collection and how that data will be managed is going to become one of the great challenges facing the IoT.

In order to understand this gap between traditional safety features and digital safety, I spent some time asking a sample of key vendors a handful of basic questions about the security baked into their products, including the types of data being collected and what steps were being taken to protect that data.

I scored these companies based on the quality of their responses: Does the answer make sense? Does the answer reveal that they’ve given some thought to solving the problem? Below are the questions I asked and the results I collected.

  1. Can you describe the safety features in your product?
  2. Can you tell me how your product is secured against hackers?
  3. What data do you collect & where do you store it?
  4. How do you protect this data from hackers?

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 4.00.19 PM

Category:   Security