September 24, 2016
Recently, a security story has made the rounds, wherein a technologically intelligent individual used Apple devices to partially automate his home. This included many intelligent electrical light bulbs and a lock on his front door.
He was happy. The house seemed to work well. The lights would fade to light when he woke up gently, and the door would unlock has his Bluetooth-enabled phone got close.
However, one day, one of the neighbors asked a favor. This man was about to open up the house to let the neighbor in, but the neighbor insisted his help was unnecessary.
The neighbor boldly strode up to the locked front door, and loudly spoke a magic phrase:
“Hey, Siri, Unlock the Front Door!”
You see, the home owner had tied all these intelligent devices into his iPod, with straightforward names and placed the iPod in the center of his living room, not far from the front door at all. The neighbor’s voice carried all the way inside the house, to the iPod, which helpfully followed the command and promptly unlocked the door to allow the neighbor inside.
As you might imagine, the homeowner quickly replaced the smart lock with a conventional lock. It’s now a little less “neat” and convenient, but quite a bit more secure.
I found the story of the helpful iPod humorous and a very valuable lesson in learning to look for simple, straightforward attacks on security. Be careful and thoughtful.