Exactly what the title says.
When searching for appliances online, there is always a “smart” variant of what you’re looking for:
Phone? Here’s a smartphone. Ok, makes sense.
TV? Not sure why it’s smart but hey, I’ll take it.
Thermostat? Neat, convenient, but not exactly necessary.
Refrigerator? Why would I ever need to check the weather on my… You know what, sure, why not.
Toaster? This is just getting out of hand now.
First of all, neglecting the painful fact that a smart toaster currently exists and is being sold for $279, this societal fascination with making every connected to the internet has to stop.
The cyber security risks with connecting everything to your home wi-fi are incredibly high. I mean, do you really want a smart lock that someone can hack into and lock you out of your own home? If you do, then sure, more power to you, but keep in mind that the risks associated with owning so many internet of things (or as it’s commonly referred to as, IOT) devices usually far outweighs their benefits.
“But it’s just a refrigerator/toaster/lock,” you might think “How bad can it be?”
Well, tell that to the owner of this casino that got hacked through a “smart” fish tank water monitor.
“But why would they target me? I’m just an ordinary guy/girl/goldfish…” You might ask.
They won’t target you.
Despite what your parents say, you’re not special.
Cyber-criminals can easily (and already have) set up programs that scan the web for vulnerable devices connected to the internet, and not all of them are in it for financial gain, either.
Just look at these cases of baby monitors being hacked and the hackers speaking to the children, some of them probably just doing it for “fun”:
Read those and come back to me about how great and secure you think these devices are.
Cybersecurity is an ever-changing and highly competitive field, and everything that can be hacked, will be hacked at some point, and what can be hacked? Anything with an internet connection can.
That’s why I recommend that you keep your house and important systems as “dumb” as possible.
Stop buying “smart” things. You’re smarter than them. You have a brain. Use it.
Ironically, the smart toaster is probably the safest purchase on the list. At least it’s a decent gag gift.