The Internet of Things just got a little creepy. It seems you can buy smart sex toys these days and the darn things can be hacked.
Security researchers at tech companies are warning that resourceful hackers can easily take control of sex toys that are connected to the internet.
While in the past, smart devices have more normally been regular household appliances, like fridges, TVs and light bulbs, the trend is growing, as manufacturers see the need to improve the functionality of the products they are selling.
— russellg (@russlar42) March 18, 2016
However, the problem with the Internet of Things, i.e. having smart devices around the home, is that it opens up the possibility of cyber attacks, with savvy hackers able to take control of a smart device and spy on its users.
The mind boggles if you think of this in relation to sex toys, but at the CeBIT Technology Fair in Hanover, Germany, this week, a security firm, Trend Micro, used a vibrator to demonstrate just those vulnerabilities.
Trend Micro spokesman Udo Schneider startled journalists at the technology fair by activating what Reuters describes as a “large, neon-pink vibrator” by “typing out a few lines of code on his laptop.”
The stunt did, reportedly, draw a few sheepish chuckles from the audience and Raimund Genes, chief technology officer at Trend Micro said, “If I hack a vibrator it’s just fun.”
But he went on to explain why it can be a problem, adding, “But if I can get to the back-end, I can blackmail the manufacturer.”
It seems sex toy manufacturers are getting into the whole Internet of Things game and have started to produce products that can connect to computers and smartphones via Bluetooth and WiFi. This allows the users of the sex toys to both control them and also download software updates.
However, according to the security experts, the problem comes when companies all too often treat security as an afterthought when producing the so-called smart devices.
Chris Boyd, an analyst for the security firm Malwarebytes, told Newsweek the main problem with the many smart devices that connect to the internet is that they are “horribly broken security-wise because it costs money to ensure a reasonable standard of protection on a product.”
However, speaking of sex toys and vibrators, some manufacturers have been quick to come forward and stand behind the security of their products.
— Mesuli (@defcde) March 18, 2016
Sex toy maker Lovense said, in a statement, they have three layers of security on their products.
“The server side, the way we transfer information from the user’s phone to our server, and on the client side.
“We take our customer’s private data very seriously, which is why we don’t serve any on our servers.”
While those particular sex toys might be secure, many modern products of this nature reportedly even include webcams. Those webcams can then be used to communicate with sex partners remotely. With the possibility of a remote connection, this then opens up the possibility for hackers to intercept the devices and secretly spy on the user, a creepy thought indeed.
Besides accessing smart devices, hackers can cause immeasurable damage, and, as reported by Reuters, back in 2014 a German steel mill suffered following a cyber attack on the plant’s network.
On top of this, recently several German hospitals have been the target of Ransomware cyber attacks, which use a virus to encrypt data on the infected machines, leading to a demand that users pay a ransom to get an electronic key to unlock the machines.
As reported on the Inquisitr, a hospital in Hollywood was hit in the same way, with hackers demanding $3.6 million in Bitcoin to release vital patient data encrypted by them in a ransomware cyberattack.
However, the news these days is that having a little remote fun with your partner with a smart sex toy can also lead to potential damages, and, of course, incalculable embarrassment.