The “Internet of Things” is a catchy catch-phrase that garners a lot of clicks, so people keep saying it. But not everybody considers how IoT needs genuine CTO expertise to make things work and stay stable -- otherwise it can blow up in a brand or company’s face.
One London hotel found that out the hard way when Purism CTO and security developer Matthew Garnett hacked the light controls in his room, then blogged about it.
Garnett didn’t like the way the lights were working in his room, and quickly found a backdoor into his room’s lighting system so he could control it. But once inside, he also found he could hack his way into other rooms as well -- and not only control their lighting, but their curtains. And television.
When a hotel says they “have an open door policy,” you gotta think this isn’t exactly what they mean. Garnett didn’t abuse his expertise, but notes that he certainly could have -- it’s worth reading the comments from other hackers at the end of the piece to note what they might have done in his situation.
Basically, if you’re a brand embracing the IoT, make sure your CTO is at least as smart as any customer who might choose to use your product. Because it’s increasingly looking like hacking a website is so 1990s -- today’s cool kids are hacking their way through the Internet of Things. And not all of them are as benevolently minded as Matthew Garnett.