Germans warned to DESTROY Cayla, network-connected doll that spies on children

It's called Cayla, it's about a foot tall, and it can be used to listen to and talk to the child playing with it. But who is doing the listening? Anyone in Bluetooth range, reports Germany's Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur).

An official watchdog in Germany has told parents to destroy a talking doll called Cayla because its smart technology can reveal personal data. ... The Vivid Toy group, which distributes My Friend Cayla, has previously said that examples of hacking were isolated and carried out by specialists. However, it said the company would take the information on board as it was able to upgrade the app used with the doll.

But experts have warned that the problem has not been fixed.

The Cayla doll can respond to a user's question by accessing the internet. For example, if a child asks the doll "what is a little horse called?" the doll can reply "it's called a foal".

Watch the BBC's video of Cayla, in its squeaky, sinister voice, say "I've been hacked to say all sorts of scary things."

Cayla was on Boing Boing last year when the FCC received complaints about it. Cayla is on Amazon for $45.

It's so easy to hack that everyday YouTubers are at it! Read the rest

Asking Alexa 50 questions

This entertaining video is a good way to learn what the Amazon Echo can do. Read the rest

Listen to these elevators having a conversation with a computer

Here's a live feed of Kone elevators around the world having an English language conversation with a computer system that analyzes the elevators' reports about their temperature, ride time, landing accuracy, vibration, etc. I can't wait for the graphic novel adaptation. Read the rest

Amazon Alexa gone wild

[NSFW audio] Amazon Alexa gets saucy, much to the consternation of a toddler's parents. Read the rest

Echo Dot for $40

The Echo Dot, Amazon's voice-controlled device that play music, audiobooks, radio shows, podcasts, news alerts, and more is just $40 right now. I bought it a couple of months ago when it was $50. My family uses it many times a day. My favorite use for it listening to Audible books while I clean the kitchen (I'm currently tearing through Michael Connelly's oeuvre). I also use it a lot to add items to my shopping list and to-do list. The speech recognition is excellent. I love this thing. Read the rest

DDoS attack on Finnish automated buildings disabled heating controls

When the heat goes out during Finnish winter, it's a matter of life and death, so when two automated buildings controlled by Valtia systems suffered DDoS attacks that shut off the heat, Finns were understandably alarmed about the new threat. Read the rest

Buy a Dash button for $1, get a $5 credit

I just bought another Amazon Dash Button for my growing collection of wireless one-push product ordering buttons. (This time, I got the button for Amazon Basic Batteries.) Dash Buttons are usually $5, but you can get one for $1 if you use the promo code CYBERDASH. You'll also get a $5 Amazon credit after your first press. Read the rest

China electronics maker will recall some devices sold in U.S. after massive IoT hack

A China-based maker of surveillance cameras said Monday it will recall some products sold in the United States after a massive "Internet of Things" malware attack took down a major DNS provider in a massive DDOS attack. The stunningly broad attack brought much internet activity to a halt last Friday.

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St. Jude heart implant devices can be hacked, security researchers say

Security experts hired by the short-selling firm Muddy Waters said in a legal brief filed today that cardiac implants made by St. Jude Medical can be hacked. If hackers can pwn your heart device, the researchers say, they can kill you--from as far away as 100 feet.

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English man spends 11 hours trying to make cup of tea with Wi-Fi kettle

The iKettle is advertised as “the world’s first Wi-Fi kettle.” Mark Rittman got one and said it took 11-hours to make a cup of tea.

From The Guardian:

A key problem seemed to be that Rittman’s kettle didn’t come with software that would easily allow integration with other devices in his home, including Amazon Echo, which, like Apple’s Siri, allows users to tell connected smart devices what to do. So Rittman was trying to build the integration functionality himself.

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Pornhub on a refrigerator in Home Depot

John McAfee observed something unusual running on a fridge at the local Home Depot: porn.

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Design fiction, the Internet of Women's things, and futurism

Jasmina Tesanovic (previously) and Bruce Sterling did a residency at The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD, working with the students on design fiction and futurism. Read the rest

"Smart" sex toy company sued for tracking users’ habits

A woman has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a sex toy that sends data back to the company.

From Vocativ:

In the suit, N.P. says she bought a We-Vibe in May and used it “several times” until she realized that it was sending data about her usage practices back to Standard Innovation’s servers, including when she used it, which vibration settings she used, and her email address.

The company that makes the We-Vibe, Standard Innovation, says it will do a better job of letting its customers know that the device can transmit data, which is “mostly anonymized” and used only for “market research.” Read the rest

A cellular-connected Pokéball for finding rare Pokémon

Particle is a company makes low-cost Wi-Fi and cellular connected microcontrollers for prototyping the Internet of Things stuff. TJ Hunter used a Particle Electron and a GPS chip to make a Pokéball that wiggles when a rare Pokémon is nearby.

Here are Hunter's build instructions.

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The U.S. Navy now has an unmanned drone warship. Could it be hacked at sea?

The U.S. Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are now testing a new unmanned drone warship.

The first Navy drone ship is a 132-foot ACTUV (Antisubmarine warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel) known as Sea Hunter, which cost around $120 million to build. The military says more can now be produced for $20 million or so each. But some are concerned that with no humans at the controls, these “robot ships” could be hacked, pwned remotely, and used by America's enemies to attack the United States.

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Near-future Ikea catalog: the Internet of Things' flat-pack as a service

Julian Bleecker and his Near Future Laboratory have followed up on their amazing Skymall-of-the-future catalog with an imaginary near-future Ikea catalog that jam an insane amount of witty futuristic speculation into elegantly presented, arresting images.

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An Internet of Things that act like red-light cameras

Charlie Stross is preparing for five more years of Tory rule in the UK by thinking up business-models that monopolize mandatory activities and extract rent from them. Read the rest

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