Of late, we have companies like Google currently trying to connect every household device to the Internet. It has made news in recently by acquiring a company called Nest, which specializes in home automation. While Google may touch upon an interesting concept of appliances which interact with our surroundings and make our living more comfortable, at the same time it presents a scary picture of an organization which literally ‘knows’ people based on the data collected by the appliances. Soon, every little detail about your life would be recorded onto Google’s servers either anonymously or openly.
Science fiction is an interesting medium to produce double edged analysis of technology. On one hand, it presents a very vivid image of how wonderful a world of advanced technology would be like. On the other hand, certain works show an inherent distrust and fear of technology. Works in writing and film include the Space Odyssey trilogy, The Terminator series, The Minority Report et al. Some quirky stories feature household appliances being a major threat to the human race. Interestingly, in some cases, reality imitates fiction. Such is the case of the SPAM refrigerator.
Weird as it is, it is a real incident involving a fridge which had been infected by a virus which proceeded to send roughly about 750,000 malicious emails. It was apparently a smart fridge which had internet access. This enabled it to be compromised easily by an attacker targeting it. When investigated, it was revealed that it was a part of a much larger network of compromised Smart TVs, routers, Media PCs and home computers. This shows how any internet connected device can be exploited by a hacker. In fact, this scenario has been parodied in Grand Theft Auto 4 where a security expert is killed by an electric shock from his toaster which had been hacked. Even though it was a tongue-in-cheek joke, it could very well reflect the future of technology.