The expanding circle of distrust fueled by the Internet of Things (IoT)
I whip out my device to make a payment at the checkout counter of our local hardware store. And I pause. Should I let the point-of-sale system extract all my data? Can I trust this device? Do I have any control over who gets access to the data captured? We may get what we pay for -- but, adversaries can get what we pay with! We don’t usually encounter adversaries face-to-face and our primary interface remains these point-of-sale systems, web clicks and other devices that are part of the Internet of Things. Thanks to recent hacks with the customer's data at various retail chains, I am beginning to develop a sense of distrust in these very "things" and devices. Complementing the Circle of Trust I have developed over the years with close family and friends, IoT is injecting itself into a rapidly expanding Circle of Distrust.
And I pay with cash instead -- because You may get what you pay for but They can get what you pay with!
Daniel Miessler introduces the concepts of “personal daemons” and “universal daemonization” in this article on Future of the Internet and the Internet of Things. The word “daemon” in concept, takes me back many years when I used to foray into the guts of the UNIX kernel where daemons represented programs that run continuously as a background process – e.g. a printing daemon. Interestingly enough, the word “daemon” semantically means a spirit, a supernatural being, a demi-god.
Miessler does refer to the IoT having its own daemons that perpetually interact with each other.
However, bugs like Shellshock have the ability to take over control of the command script that can transform computing “daemons” into mythological “demons”. Happy Halloween! The fact that such bugs can continue to penetrate the landscape of devices only accentuates my circle of distrust.
And then, checkout devices that look and act like – of all creatures – like a snake! The last thing that comes to mind when I think of a serpentine creature is trust!
I finish my purchases and come home. My neighbor’s dog (Poodle you say?) comes running up to me furiously wagging its fluffy tail. Now, here is a being that I trust -- a lifelong member of my Circle of Trust. But, do I trust the device around its neck that sends out signals to control the dog’s movements? I am not so sure. Yet another member of the Circle of Distrust.
How about you? How do you contrast your level of trust in humans versus machines? What is growing faster – your Circle of Trust or your Circle of Distrust?
I trust you will let me know. Or can I?