Wednesday, 16 December 2015 14:46

In IoT security is less of a concern than locking out your competitors…

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It seems that Phillips does not want you to use their hue application with just anyone.  If you are not aware, hue is a system that allows you to control special light bulbs. You can turn them on and off, adjust the temp (color) and much more. To some this sounds like a great idea, and it is pretty cool. However, after a recent firmware update some people are finding that they are no longer able to use hue with just any light bulb.

This is not that out of the ordinary for manufacturers, but you usually do not see a company shift from open to closed inside a product cycle. We usually see them start off closed and after the maker has piled up enough cash they fall into a more opens status. What Phillips does show is that the idea of the connected home is already part of a brand war. By locking out other manufacturers that have not entered into an agreement or partnership (pronounce that paid for it) they are ensuring their place in the home.

What makes this mover sadder is that we are not seeing updates to the system to address any security concerns. Many (if not all) IoT and connected home systems are still very open to attack and compromise. Phillips seems more concerned with maintaining their brand presence in the home rather than the security of their product. This is something that we still should not be accepting when it comes to a device of this type.

Phillips is claiming that the update that locks out some manufacturers was intended to ensure compatibility with their software through the normal upgrade cycle. This does represent a real danger to consumers though. If a company can lock out another company that they do not like then it seriously impacts the market and the consumer. If this issue really is because of the many standards that are out there then maybe it is finally time to start imposing some standards for interoperability and also security.

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