You remember VTech, right? The toy company, which through astonishing levels of negligence, managed to lose over ten million of its customer’s names, addresses, passwords, and other personally identifiable information? The one who’s missing records also included the names and addresses of over six million children? As well as (like the horrifying cherry on top) thousands of those children’s photos?
Well, good news, VTech also wants to sell you some home security products.
Yes, the same company. No, this is not a joke.
At this year’s CES, VTech introduced a series of head-shakingly on-trend “Internet of things” home security products. This includes the usual: Wi-Fi connected monitoring cameras, app-connected lightbulbs, and a bunch of fiddly little sensor products that are designed to tell you if your doors and windows are open.
Leaving aside VTech’s checkered history regarding the security of its products, this dreck is part of the least-secure product category in history. The Internet of Things is hard to secure by its very definition. Those little Wi-Fi cameras, for example–how are you going to protect those? Are you going to write it a little firewall? Are you going to give it monitoring system to tell its users when it gets breached? No, you’re not. You’re going to install it, never change the default password, and hope that you never become important enough to pwn.
How does VTech intend to reconcile its sordid history with the security products it’s pushing on the general public? Well, there’s good news of a sort. VTech spokespeople admitted that they are currently penetration testing their security products in order to prove that they actually are secure. In layman’s terms, this means they’ve hired a hacker to see if their products are hackable.
You might find this reassuring, except these spokespeople have refused to disclose the name of the testing firm they’re using, as well as which parts of their security products they’re actually having them test. While any testing at all is better than none, you still couldn’t pay me to use any of VTech’s products to secure my valuable loot.