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My precious: security, privacy, and smart jewelry

Emery was staring at her computer screen for almost an hour, eyes already lackluster as the full-page ad on Motiv looped once more. She was contemplating whether she’d give in and get her boyfriend Ben a new fitness tracker as a present for his upcoming marathon. The phone app he was currently using worked, but Ben never got used to wearing his iPhone on his arm. In fact, the weight of it … [Read more...]

Explained: What is big data?

If the pile of manure is big enough, you will find a gold coin in it eventually. This saying is used often to explain why anyone would use big data. Needless to say, in this day and age, the piles of data are so big, you might end up finding a pirate’s treasure. How big is the pile? But when is the pile big enough to consider it big data? Per Wikipedia: “Big data is data sets that are so big and … [Read more...]

IoT domestic abuse: What can we do to stop it?

Some 40 years ago, the sci-fi/horror film Demon Seed told the tale of a woman slowly imprisoned by a sentient AI, which invaded the smart home system her husband had designed to manage it. The AI locked doors, windows, turned off communications, and even put a synthesised version of her onscreen at the front door to reassure visitors she was “fine.” The reality, of course, is that she … [Read more...]

Researchers discover vulnerabilities in smart assistants’ voice commands

Virtual personal assistants (VPA), also known as smart assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant, are in the spotlight for vulnerabilities to attack. Take, for example, that incident about an Oregon couple’s Echo smart speaker inadvertently recording their conversation and sending it to a random contact. Or that time when the Alexa started laughing out of the blue. Indeed, something … [Read more...]

The Internet of Everything and digital privacy: what you need to know

If you don’t already own Internet of Things (IoT) devices, you likely will soon. IoT-enabled devices are physical gadgets with built-in Internet connectivity that allow data transmission; often this happens in the background with no indication to the user that anything is happening. The IoT is more like the Internet of Everything—statistics indicate within the next couple of years, there will be … [Read more...]

Internet of Things (IoT) security: what is and what should never be

The Internet has penetrated seemingly all technological advances today, resulting in Internet for ALL THE THINGS. What was once confined to a desktop and a phone jack is now networked and connected in multiple devices, from home heating and cooling systems like the Nest to AI companions such as Alexa. The devices can pass information through the web to anywhere in the world—server farmers, company … [Read more...]