Hacking the Dildo: Cyber Risks Everywhere

Anything that is connected to the web can, and will, be hacked. We forget that. It is extremely easy to forget that fact.

We forget it when we buy web-connected baby monitors. Or web-connected door bells. Or any web-connected household appliance, including door locks. (Web-connected door locks ! Really ? Really ? You want to be robbed, raped, or murdered? You want to be unable to enter your OWN home if there is a loss of power or if the software enabling the ‘key’ isn’t working correctly or working at all? Really ?)

Not part of our consciousness

The fact that any device connected to the web can be hacked is not part of our conscious when we buy the device. Or if somehow we do realize that reality of the situation, we seem to forget to ask about how to best secure the device.

The situation is not benign. It will only worsen as we buy increasingly more IoT devices for our home. In the case of the ‘smart home’ or the ‘connected home,’ our home is one hack away from turning our lives into misery.

The web-connected dildo that got hacked

A few years ago, one of my colleagues was attending a cyber-risk conference in London. During one of the sessions, a hacker demonstrated that he could ‘hack a web-connected dildo’.

Fortunately, the dildo was not in use at the time.

BTW Why would any person purchase a web-connected dildo? Have you decided to be part of a team ? Going to download software into it? (I won’t take my line of thought any further on this topic.)

Automobiles Connected to the web? Hackable!

That includes autonomous vehicles (AVs).

It also includes automobiles using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) capabilities. Or an automobile connected to the driver’s home (perhaps a capability sold as part of ‘a connected home’). Or automobiles that can get software / solution updates through the web for any of its driving operations or entertainment systems.

I am not saying we shouldn’t purchase these web-connected devices. I am saying we must demand the manufacturers provide us the ability to set stringent security on these devices, including the automobile manufacturers of web-connected automobiles.

Insurers (P&C and Life) have to rethink pricing existing risks

I am saying that automobile insurance companies should be prepared to rethink pricing of the following covers for people purchasing / leasing web-connected automobiles (whether they are electric or autonomous):

  1. Cyber liability risks (including using the web-connected vehicle as a hub for DDOS attacks; taking control of the vehicle to stop it on a high-speed highway; taking control of the vehicle to bring it to a remote stop to rob, kidnap, or murder the occupants)
  2. Product liability risks (I’m probably wrong on this one. I’m sure the web-connected vehicles meet a 6 ‘9’s standard.)
  3. Software liability risks (I think that any software engineer that has anything to do with putting and/or keeping the vehicle on the road will be a target for lawsuits. Hell, I’d sue the subcontractor that made the cup-holders !)
  4. Kidnap & Ransom risks

Automobile insurance companies might also want to consider increasing the premiums for E&O and D&O covers for:

  1. producers selling auto insurance to customers purchasing / leasing web-connected automobiles
  2. web-connected automobile manufacturers, distributors, sales people, and repair / body shops.

Life insurers might want to consider the potential of increased death claims from drivers of web-connected automobiles. A kidnapping may lead to death; a software liability that results in the vehicle stopping in the middle of a busy highway may lead to death; or a vehicle fire may lead to death (I’m sorry you are burning Dave but I can’t release your seatbelt now.)

Frequency & Severity: Critical Measures for P&C Insurers

I can hear it now from the web-connected automobile manufacturers: We don’t meet 6 ‘9’s but our vehicles will not require repairs very often. Good for you ! I couldn’t be more happy for you !

Unfortunately (or fortunately from an insurance perspective), frequency is only part of a pair of critical measures.

We really care a great deal about severity also.

Accidents, deaths, software failures, cyber-hacking may not occur frequently BUT the severity consequences of each of those ‘few’ failures will incur significant financial costs. (What might be the range of costs to repair a web-connected vehicle? And how many repair people are available with the requisite skills? Oh well, if people waited a long time to actually take delivery of their web-connected vehicle, they’ll wait in our new bottlenecked process to get their vehicle repaired.)

Moreover, there will also be long-tail costs (physical rehabilitation, personal trauma, grief from death of loved ones) from the ‘few’ failures.

You’ve put yourself in your own movable dildo

Driving a web-connected automobile means you are in a hackable situation for the duration of your trip. Basically, you’ve put yourself into a web-connected dildo.

1 thought on “Hacking the Dildo: Cyber Risks Everywhere”

  1. Clever way to shed light on the subject most people willfully ignore nowadays – to the point that they question me when I tell them that “privacy is overrated”. They even have smart beds that change temperature to help them rest – can you imagine what to do with all the data gathered while you sleep. Best

    Like

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