Think twice before making your privates public (via stux/Pixabay)
Stay on target 'Side-Channel' Cyber Attacks Rare, But Chilling IBM Bans Removable Storage Devices for Workers
Last week, US patent 6,368,268 B1 ―”method and device for interactive virtual control of sexual aids using digital computer networks”―expired, opening the door to more smart sex toys.
Thecessation of this so-called “teledildonics patent,” sold in 2015 to troll TZU Technologies (which sued a number of startups for licensing fees), marks a new era for remotely connected vibrators.
“While this patent was ostensibly focused on remote sexual interaction, it was being used as a sledgehammer against any company that might possibly develop extensible sex hardware,” Metafetish chief Kyle Machulis told Wired .
“This isn’t an industry with a lot of money,” he continued, “so even the threat of a lawsuit was enough to cause companies to fold right then and there.”
That’s exactly what happened to Comingle, which shuttered after legal threats against its crowdfunded educational sex toy.
Well ahead of its time, the patent was originally filed in 1998 by Warren Sandvick, Jim Hughes, and David Alan Atkinson (three men―surprise!). The Internet was still coming into its own, having fully commercialized in the US only three years prior.
In the decades since, that simple system of interconnected computer networks has evolved into a complex web of smart devices ―including vibrators.
But users should think twice before jumping into bed with any Tom, Dick, or cyber dildo.
Security standards for the Internet of Things―the ever-growing network of physical objects with an IP address for Internet connectivity―leave much to be desired.
(Remember Svakom Siime Eye , the $249 Wi-Fi-enabled vibrator with such shoddy safety measures that anyone within range could gain access to the built-in camera’s stream?)
“If we start to see more devices on the market, I fear we will see a new wave of security and privacy issues,” Sarah Jamie Lewis, executive director of the Open Privacy Research Society, told Wired . “Most sex tech devices and associated software are awful from a privacy, and often security, perspective.”
They collect sensitive data (like who you’re bumping and grinding with) and do little to protect it. Most gadgets, Lewis added, don’t even follow basic protocols to encrypt communications.
“One of my biggest concerns,” she continued, “is if that infrastructure is compromised in a larger way, then … people might be controlling devices that they don’t have the consent to control.”
So what can sex-tech manufacturers do to curb this creepy problem?
Well, they could start by implementing group key exchanges for trusted setups with multiple partners, using cryptocurrencies to avoid financial censorship, and adopting pluggable transports to disguise network traffic, Wired said.
Lewis also suggested connecting people via metadata resistant protocols, rather than a company-owned server, to stop firms from collecting (and leaking) information.
And since these folks have been waiting years for the remote patent to expire, they’ve had plenty of time to draw up security and privacy best practices―right?
What’s better than a bit of self-satisfaction ? Automatic post-climax pizza delivery . Find out more about smart vibratorshere, and keep up to date on all things cybersecurityhere.
Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey .