This post originally appeared in Human Infrastructure Magazine, a twice-monthly newsletter from the Packet Pushers. It’s included with a free membership, which you can sign up for here.
Your smartphone chirps: there’s a fresh build of the OS and you’ll need to restart. You put the phone aside as the software downloads and the device reboots.
You turn to your laptop. You open an application to catch up on some work, but a notification slides in from the right side of the screen: a new version of the application is available that contains critical updates. You’ve already clicked “install later” a half-dozen times; the thing won’t work until you run the latest software.
Fine. You give in and download the new version. Rather than sit and wait as the little wheel spins, you sort through the mail on your desk.
There’s a letter from your car dealer. The manufacturer has issued a recall notice due to recently discovered firmware vulnerabilities that could affect the vehicle’s functions. You won’t be charged for the updates, but they have to be done at the dealer. That means you have to make an appointment, drive across town, and drop off the vehicle.
Feeling your irritation level begin to rise, you check the phone. Update’s done. You head to the living room. It’s dark. You open your home lighting app, thinking you’ll try the new “Quiet Contemplation” setting to help you relax.
But there’s a notification on the app: something about GDPR and the service being disabled. What the hell? The lights don’t work.
You aren’t in the mood to sort it out right now, so you go check on your laptop. Still spinning.
OK then. You head to the den and turn on the TV. You twiddle with the remote as a new software package gets downloaded. You click through the EULA without reading it and then flip to the news.
The lead story is about a new hack that exploits a home smart lock system—the same smart lock system you just installed on your front door last week.
You utter a few choice curses. This is getting out of hand.
And then from your darkened living room comes a sound. You listen closely, the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. It’s a sinister laugh.
But you’re the only one home.