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Internet of Things (IoT) 31 October 2018

IoT Tales of Horror (Inspired by Real-Life Events)

By April FroncekFormer Senior Editor, Internet Society Foundation
Ryan PolkDirector, Internet Policy

Happy Halloween! In some parts of the world, people are celebrating this holiday of horror by dressing up as monsters or other frights and watching scary movies. But sometimes these tales can be just a little boring. Pod people? Headless horsemen? Replicant children? Whatever.

I present the real horror stories of Halloween – and every other day of the year. These tales are inspired by real-life events and are guaranteed to give you a chill. (And not just because your smart thermostat is being controlled by a shapeshifting clown who lives in the sewer!)

In the fall of 2018, a group of kids work together to destroy an evil malware, which infects connected toys and preys on the children of their small town.

Inspired by the terrifying vulnerabilities found in everyday connected toys.

Night of the Living Devices
There’s panic across the Internet as connected devices suddenly begin attacking critical Internet infrastructure. The film follows a group of network operators as they frantically work to protect the Internet from these packet spewing, infected devices.

Inspired by the harrowing events of the 2016 Dyn attack.

Rosemary’s Baby Monitor
A young family moves into a house billed as the “smart home of the future” only to be plagued by strange occurrences. When odd things happen in their baby’s room each night, paranoia over their child’s safety begins to control their life.

Inspired by the insecure Internet-connected baby monitors, putting children’s privacy at risk.

I(o)T Follows
A woman is followed by an unknown group of advertisers after buying a fitness tracker that traces her location.

Inspired by the location data that wearable devices are sharing every day.

The Grills Have Eyes
A suburban family is stalked by the grills that reside in the patio furniture section of their local hardware store.

Inspired by the smart home appliances that are looking for a home.


These are scary stories, but they don’t have to be! You can take steps to #SecureIt, starting with The Lazy Person’s Guide to Better Online Privacy. And if you’re a manufacturer, read the Online Trust Alliance’s IoT Trust Framework, which provides guidance to enhance the security, privacy, and sustainability of devices and the data they collect.

When your apps and appliances know more about the Internet than you do, it’s time to get IoT smart.

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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