DEF CON vs IoT: On Hackability and Security

Ahh DEF CON! One group of hackers shows off how they’ve broken into all sorts of cool devices and other hackers (ahem… “security professionals”) lament the fact that the first group were able to do so. For every joyous “we rooted the Nest thermostat, now we can have fun” there’s a doom-mongering “the security of network-connected IoT devices is totally broken!”.

And like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, these two sides of the hacker persona can coexist within the same individual. At Hackaday, we’re totally paranoid security conscious, but we also like to tinker with stuff. We believe that openness and security are best friends forever. If you can open it, you can see if it’s well-made inside, at least in principle. How do we reconcile this with the security professional’s demand for devices that only accept signed binary firmware updates so that they can’t be tampered with?

We’ve got no answers, but we’ve got plenty of questions. Read on, and let us know what you think.

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Editorial: Fear of the Unusual

As an engineer and as a writer for Hack a Day, I am used to seeing hardware in all kinds of states; from looking professionally done, to artfully constructed, to downright hackish. Unfortunately in today’s society of manufactured goods, most people just don’t have any experience with homemade electronics. Furthermore, because of a frenzied fear of terrorists, bombs, and IEDs, people who aren’t familiar with hacked or personally constructed hardware often assume the worst.

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