Ubicomp and ubisec

March 17, 2008 – 11:30 am

Read this ABC news story on digital frames coming with viruses installed if you want a glimpse at an unpleasant future. Ubicomp (“ubiquitous computing“, aka spimes aka real world objects with computation and network capability) promises wonderful things: fridges and pantries that network to produce your shopping list, art that knows who’s looking at it, etc. But where there’s a networked CPU there’s a botnet-in-waiting.

Reading this ComputerWorld article I see that the frames only infected the PC if you plugged it into the USB port to load with pictures. How long before a networked photo frame sniffs packets, portscans, and mails passwords back to the mothership? It’s a shame that infected PCs are so cheap (that link is to a PDF on the malware industry by Kiwi Foo attendee Peter Gutmann) that there’s not a business model in having the botnet creators subsidize the manufacture of trojan frames.

But if every device in your house is networked and runs an operating system of some form, there’ll be an attacker who’ll want to get access to it. Security is going to be hellishly important. I want to see ubicomp, but I think we need to get ubisec with it. At the moment we’re just heading for ubipwn.

You must be logged in to post a comment.