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About Smart Appliances - IoT


      The "Internet of Things" consists of devices that communicate with, monitor or control other devices over the web, in an autonomous manner or with human intervention.   Examples of this are the status of your vehicle's systems being monitored and friendly reminders sent to you about maintenance.  For those agreeing to have Smart Meters National Grid offers smart devices that inform you of your current and recent energy use and even some gadgets that can turn off certain appliances remotely. [40]  Of course these are optional at first but you may be "encouraged" to "take advantage" of their "benefits" by means of punitive or coercive pricing of electric power according to the time of day you use it:  Peak demand or Time-Of-Use (TOU) pricing is one incentive to shift non-critical or discretionary energy use to off-peak times to save generating capacity.

     The 802.14 or ZigBee wireless infrastructure makes it possible for insurance companies to monitor, through your WiFi connection each month, that your Smart-Phone alert-able Smart-Fire & Smart-Monoxide Alarms are working properly, that batteries are diligently being replaced, etc.  If so, you will get an incentive break on your homeowner's or renter's insurance.  This is one more way to force people into "the Internet of Things". [41] 

     But use of Smart Appliances has already compromised security.  In August, 2015, security researchers discovered a potential way to steal users’ Gmail credentials from a Samsung smart fridge.  Pen Test Partners discovered that while the fridge implements SSL, it fails to validate SSL certificates while logging in on its owner's behalf, thereby enabling man-in-the-middle attacks against most connections.  The MiTM (man-in-the-middle) vulnerability that facilitated the exploit was found during an IoT hacking challenge at a DEF CON hacking conference.  Such failures in exploit discovery process are cold comfort for IoT fridge owners. [42] 

     Utilities offer discounts on smart thermostats that learn your schedule and program themselves.  They communicate via WiFi with an app on your smart phone so they know when you're at home or away and set themselves accordingly. [43]  National Grid even offered Worcester customers enrolled in its Smart Energy Solution program (Smart Meter Pilot) such a thermostat for free along with a Smart Plug (to turn off your air conditioner during peak use events) and a Digital Picture Frame (tablet) to let you view and control household functions wirelessly from that device. [44] 

     Smart light poles have been deployed in Karlsruhe, Germany that remotely communicate, alert electric car drivers to available charging stations that can bill their residential electric account, provide public WiFi and have an Emergency Button to call police, among other features. [45]    


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40     https://www.nationalgridus.com/MA-Home/Smart-Energy-Solutions/No-Cost-Energy-Kits

41     http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/liberty-mutual-insurance-and-nest-partner-to-reward-customers-for-protecting-their-homes-with-innovative-technology-300100883.html 

42     Samsung smart fridge leaves Gmail logins open to attack, by John Leyden, The Register (UK),

         August 24, 2015

         http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/24/smart_fridge_security_fubar/

         http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/samsung-smart-fridge-leaves-gmail-logins-open-to-attack/ ​     43     https://store.nest.com/product/thermostat?selectedVariantId=T3007ES 

44     https://www.nationalgridus.com/MA-Home/Smart-Energy-Solutions/No-Cost-Energy-Kits 

45    SAP B-Roll Smart Lighting 2016

         https://www.sap-tv.com/stockfootage/medialist/577