Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

@ThingsExpo: Blog Feed Post

How to Turn Your Microwave into a Camera | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #Security

All kidding aside, there is no way to take a microwave oven and use it 'as is' as a surveillance tool

You can turn a microwave into a camera and I’ll teach you how in a minute, but before I do, let me share this news item. In a recent interview with a reporter from the Bergen Record, Kellyanne Conway was asked about surveillance. She responded: “There are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately. There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways. And microwaves that turn into cameras, etc. So we know that that is just a fact of modern life.”

On its face, her statement about “microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera” is ridiculous. It reminds me of the late Sen. Ted Stevens’ famous “Tubes” speech. I went right after “Uncle Ted” for his techno–faux pas, but even then, there were bigger issues to consider. It would be exceptionally easy to jump all over Ms. Conway for her techno–faux pas. But doing so would be taking a cheap shot at an easy target while completely missing a very, very important teaching moment.

You Cannot Hide
First and foremost, if you are a normal person who does not have a professional security team ensuring your privacy, and you are targeted, you cannot hide. There are countless legal and illegal ways to watch you (assuming you’re interesting enough to be watched), and you will not know you are being watched until someone makes use of the surveilled material. Get over it. As Ms. Conway suggests, “that is just a fact of modern life.” If you’re wondering what these mysterious “countless ways” might be, type “surveillance” into Google and read through some of the 186 million results. This may have been her point. If it was, she was just fear-mongering. Very few people are interesting enough to be watched.

Professionals Have Countermeasures
If your personal or business dealings require enterprise-grade security and privacy, you can hide. Although, even professional surveillors have trouble keeping up with professional surveillees – and vice versa, because surveillors and surveillees are locked in an iterative, accelerating arms race that will never end. That said, if this is the “fact of modern life” Ms. Conway was referring to, she either misspoke or was just misinformed about microwave ovens.

A Massive Gap in Understanding
The bigger problem with Ms. Conway’s statement was that it clearly illustrated that she has no idea what is, or is not, technologically possible. A blanket statement about digital surveillance may fulfill her communications mandate, but it raises a serious question: Does she (or do the people who crafted her message) know enough about the technology she’s attempting to describe to hold informed, rational policy discussions about it? And without this understanding, is it possible to lead the world into the 21st century?

Lifelong Learning
Policy is already years behind technology, and it’s falling farther behind every day. Our elected officials need to have either a deep understanding of technological capabilities that are just over the horizon or the ability to enlist (and listen to) world-class tech advisors or, preferably, both. Sadly, this requirement for future-preparedness is not in evidence.

The Imminent Danger of IoT
Smart homes and connected devices are everywhere, and with the advent of natural language understanding (NLU) systems such as Alexa Voice Services, sales are becoming robust. Over the next few years, we will find sensors in every conceivable device, and all of these devices (an estimated 50 billion of them) will be connected to some kind of network.

Data security is already a formidable problem, and it will be an even bigger problem moving forward. But device security is also going to command our attention. There are almost no ubiquitously agreed-upon security standards for IoT devices. Just how many unregulated transceivers with central processing units do you want in your home? Is the hard-coded, unchangeable password to that network-connected, budget indoor/outdoor thermometer “1234?” If so, welcome to hacker heaven. Could an inexpensive device like this be used by hackers to commit a massive DDoS attack? In October 2016, that’s exactly what happened.

Will someone hack your devices to do something even worse? Time will tell, but Kellyanne Conway could have used her moment in the spotlight to ask real questions about IoT. BTW, earlier this week, Maureen Ohlhausen, acting head of the Federal Trade Commission, said the “Internet of Things should self-regulate.” ’Nuff said.

Turning Your Microwave into a Camera
As promised, here’s how to turn your microwave (oven), which is what I think Ms. Conway meant, into a camera.

Take a smartphone and connect it to your local area network (WiFi). Download any time-lapse photography app you like. Now, duct tape the smartphone to your microwave. Do your best to camouflage it and hide the charging cord. Walk away saying something like, “Nothing to see here, folks” to divert the attention of the curiosity seekers.

Your microwave has now been turned into a camera. Of course, it will still work as a microwave – that’s what’s so great about this! Who in their right mind would ever think a microwave could be turned into a camera?

Disclaimer
All kidding aside, there is no way to take a microwave oven and use it “as is” as a surveillance tool. Microwave ovens are shielded, not typically network-connected, and they do not possess the proper component parts for image-making. Even the transducer that makes the beep is not really suited for use as a microphone.

Importantly, this is not true of other devices Ms. Conway mentioned. A professional can easily install software in a smart television (which typically features a microphone for voice recognition and a camera for gesture control) for surveillance use. In practice, anything with a transducer (microphone or speaker) in your home that is network-connected is a relatively easy target for espionage. But – and this is a big but – in almost every case, someone would need to break into your home to do the required modifications. This is not true with respect to turning your smart phones or some other types of smart devices against you. That can be done remotely.

Lastly, none of these surveillance techniques are easy to accomplish, and all of them require a warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction. But the rules only apply to governments and law enforcement. Criminals (hackers and other bad guys) don’t tend to follow rules or regulations. That’s what makes them criminals. So, without promoting fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) and without espousing conspiracy theories, let me leave you with one thought. It’s the Wild West, it’s getting wilder by the day, and there ain’t no sheriff.

The post How to Turn Your Microwave into a Camera originally appeared here on Shelly Palmer

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Disruption, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Leadership and Management hear these words all day every day... lofty goals but how do we make it real? Add to that, that simply put, people don't like change. But what if we could implement and utilize these enterprise tools in a fast and "Non-Disruptive" way, enabling us to glean insights about our business, identify and reduce exposure, risk and liability, and secure business continuity?
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named "Media Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the tec...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and G...