Do we really need cameras inside our homes? (Spoiler: NO!)

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Few things make a parent as angry, on some deep primal level, as someone else screwing with their children. It doesn't matter who it is - some bullying kid, a critical grandparent, or a script kiddie with too much disposable time and money.

The news outlets covered how some Ring cameras, or more accurately some Ring camera accounts, got hacked. Or even more accurately, how people keep reusing their passwords and so it's highly likely some other site got hacked and then someone tried those passwords with Ring and got lucky.

The msm outlets weren't overly informative, but I found the following vice article to be much more helpful. In short, use a password manager like 1Password or LastPass, stop reusing passwords, and enable 2FA for your Ring account. It should be a requirement, but ease-of-use trumps genuine security.

How Hackers Are Breaking Into Ring Cameras
After a hacker broke into a Ring camera in Tennessee and spoke to a child, Motherboard found hackers have made dedicated software for gaining access.

Technology gets hacked - that's reality now. But it raises an important question in my mind - do we really need cameras in our homes? Every living area? Our kids bedrooms?? (The same goes for anything that listens in, 24/7.) In an ideal world, of course, the answer is "yes".. there's absolutely nothing creepy about that. 😒

Okay, as a parent, I don't doubt that most of them are trying to do what they think is best - making sure their kids are safe at home. Maybe they get home from school before the parents do. Maybe someone has a disability and could hurt themselves. In every case though, you'd need to be glued to the monitor at all times, and call someone else for help. (Something like Life Alert makes a lot more sense.)

As a techie though, I find these parents far too naive about how modern technology actually works. We're spoonfed ridiculous ideas like Ironman's magic science lab and Batman's superduper cellphone snooper. That's fun on the big screen, but reality is so much more disappointing.

Modern tech is a tangle of wires and circuits and buggy software, layers and layers developed over decades, duct taped together into something that hopefully works most of the time. The more complicated or cutting-edge the technology is, the more attractive (and often easier) a target it makes.

Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It
I was driving 70 mph on the edge of downtown St. Louis when the exploit began to take hold.

The more I learn to deal with and fix complicated technology, the less prone I am to buy even more complicated technology... unless the potential headache is really worth the benefits. Here's a few thoughts I'll leave you with:

  1. The more complicated something is, the more points of failure it has. And it will fail you eventually.
  2. If you can control a device through the Internet, anyone can given enough time and effort. If you're not careful, like reusing weak passwords, that effort may be really minimal.
  3. If we survived without <insert latest tech> for the last several hundred millennia, do we really need it now? Really?

But specifically about that camera in the bedroom thing, in case my opinion wasn't clear... (it's important to be clear)


Grant Winney

I write when I've got something to share - a personal project, a solution to a difficult problem, or just an idea. We learn by doing and sharing. We've all got something to contribute.

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