DIGC202
Comments 4

The Vulnerability of The iKettle and The Internet of Things

Why would your kettle need to be connected to the internet? I’d like to imagine that’s what they said when phones gained the connectivity. But, it’s not the same thing. It’s a fucking kettle.

The iKettle (now somehow 2.0), by Smarter Apps, is a product that can be turned on wirelessly with a phone. Sometimes that boil button, the one button that you have to push is too hard to push. We may use remotes for everything in place of pressing a button. However, I still think the kettle-user is skipping to Step 2 in this important two-step process. This top comment on Silverman’s Telegraph post (2013) highlights it’s importance:

“Oh but you still have to fill it yourself, thus making this even more pointless. People will overfill so they have to make fewer trips to the tap, so it will take longer to boil the kettle and will use up extra electricity. This invention could cause the end of the world as we know it.”O’Connor in response to “Wifi kettle allows you to boil water from your bed” (2013)

Step 1 of boiling a kettle is to fill the kettle up with water. I asked the experts about whether the kettle could do that from the phone.

screenshot-www wifikettle com 2015-10-22 22-33-05

It obviously couldn’t; a clear sign that the creation of the iKettle could lead to the end of the world. This is one of the implications facing developers in the world of Internet of Things (IoT).

“IoT stands for the connection of usually trivial material objects to the internet – ranging from tooth brushes, to shoes or umbrellas – augmenting material settings with ambient data capture and processing capabilities.”Mitew, T 2014

Not only is the iKettle a trivial device, it’s also a vulnerable device. Ken Munro (2015) has revealed that it’s possible to intercept the access point of the iKettle, send a couple of commands, and receive the WiFi password in plain text. Munro comments that the state of the internet of things security is something to be worried about. In his presentation at Infosecurity Europe 2015, Munro demonstrates 5 different devices found in the home that can be hacked. Which is why the iKettle is a dumb device; even if it is social and says nice things in the morning to you.

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4 Comments

  1. I’m pretty sure I had the same attitude to the concept of combining my cell phone with my iPod but 8 years later I am all aboard the smartphone train. That being said, the Ericsson example, with all those kitchen appliances talking to each other, without someone actually giving them food to cook there was very little practical application. I feel a robot would me more useful but then we fall down that path of artificial intelligence… Anyway, an article to support your argument: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/06/the-internet-of-things-you-dont-really-need/396485/

  2. This blog was so refreshing haha.
    I took to the same humour about this topic. Essentially, what the IOT is turning us into the fat lazy people out of Wall-E. Too invested in the technological world to actually care about the damage and lack of interest we have in the physical environment. I mean, come on people are trying to marry their laptops http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2623231/Is-real-life-Her-Army-veteran-wants-MARRY-laptop-says-computers-preferred-sexual-object.html … what kind of future do we have for our social spaces? A worrying one.

  3. This post was so great, and demonstrated just how trivial and stupid the idea of trivial things being connected to the internet of things. I agree, the design of iKettle 2.0, certainly has major holes. Like what? you fill you the kettle, then go sit on the couch and press boil? whats the point, boil time is the time to get your cup and teabag ready!

  4. Hahaha this was awesome and so on point!!! Great job of focusing on ‘Kettle 2.0’, I didn’t even think ‘Oh I have to fill it up first’. You pointed out a flaw in the system and backed it up with relevant sources! It goes to show that technology still has a long way to come in overtaking the way we carry out daily tasks, however it is scary to think that in 2008 the number of things connected to the internet exceeded the number of people on Earth! Innovation via the internet is moving at an incredibly fast pace. Fantastic blog! =)

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