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Security and the "Internet of Things"

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 10, 2014 10:52 UTC (Fri) by eru (subscriber, #2753)
Parent article: Security and the "Internet of Things"

I wonder if eventually *not* being connectable to the Internet becomes a selling point for a device. For much of the "internet of things", the advantages are marginal.


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Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 10, 2014 12:46 UTC (Fri) by rogblake (guest, #18258) [Link]

I believe that is the case. I for one would certainly NOT purchase an internet-connected appliance, car, or "thing" if there was any alternative. If I had to buy such an item for some reason I would do whatever was necessary to terminate its internet connection.

This asinine idea of everything and everyone having to be connected at all times to the internet is really getting out of hand.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 11, 2014 16:19 UTC (Sat) by Wol (guest, #4433) [Link]

What happens when

(a) the consumer DOESN'T HAVE an internet connection, and
(b) the appliance REQUIRES an internet connection?

My brother-in-law won a Galaxy Tab in the office christmas sweepstake. His first reaction was "what do I want *this* for?". He's decided to keep it, because it does have a decent amount of usefulness without an internet connection (and he has plenty of family where he can get an intermittent connection).

But he has no landline (hence no broadband) and no smartphone (hence no tethering), so if a device *requires* internet access, what's he supposed to connect it to?

Cheers,
Wol

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 11, 2014 19:31 UTC (Sat) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

Well, there are (at least) two answers here: either he lives in the "wrong" place or is forced to buy used at some point. I guess if things start *requiring* Internet connection, we could finally get ISPs labelled as utilities and force their money-lined asses to give some baseline coverage even in the remoter places.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 12, 2014 18:08 UTC (Sun) by Wol (guest, #4433) [Link]

Bearing in mind I said no *smart* phone, I don't think it's a case of living "in the wrong place". I really don't think Greater London can be the wrong place. (That said, we've been told we can't get "BT Infinity", the latest and greatest from BT, because we "live *too* *close* to our exchange!?!?)

But he just doesn't see the need for a landline - he doesn't use a phone much, and a *basic* mobile gives him everything he wants.

Cheers,
Wol

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 13, 2014 10:12 UTC (Mon) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

That said, we've been told we can't get "BT Infinity", the latest and greatest from BT, because we "live *too* *close* to our exchange!?!?
That makes sense. Fibre to the cabinet is only going to help you if you live far enough from the exchange that you have a local cabinet. If your local loop comes directly out of the exchange building, well, while I am pleasantly surprised that BT don't put in 0m of fibre-optic cabling and bill you for it anyway, I cannot say I'm disappointed.

I almost wish I was in your position. It took me no end of trouble to convince BT to stop calling me about BT Infinity: I'm less than 300m from the exchange, with 100m of cabling to the cabinet, but because I have a cabinet BT still called me telling me that I can get an awesome speedup by going fibre for that bit. Yep, awesome, it costs twice as much for a very slightly faster connection: given that I have bonded lines, either I end up paying a lot more to keep one of them, or I end up paying slightly more than for the bonded lines but get less resilience and a bit less speed. (In the end I managed to get them to record the fact that I'd said no and stop calling me: normally they don't record this as a matter of policy, so they call you next week at 9am with the same pitch...)

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 13, 2014 13:41 UTC (Mon) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

> In the end I managed to get them to record the fact that I'd said no and stop calling me: normally they don't record this as a matter of policy, so they call you next week at 9am with the same pitch...

For Time Warner, they finally stopped asking me to get the triple play crap when I told them that for me to *consider* getting TV service, they would need to buy me a large TV (I think I told them 40" or more) and somewhere to put it (a stand or anchor; at my old apartment, that meant finding a new place to live as well). After that, to actually get it, they would need to have something worth watching.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 13, 2014 13:53 UTC (Mon) by redden0t8 (guest, #72783) [Link]

I had that same problem (the "normally they don't record this as a matter of policy, so they call you next week at 9am with the same pitch..." part) with my provider.

I tried asking them to take me off the list a few times, but it never did anything. After a couple of calls a week for 3-4 weeks, I figured out the secret: I told them next time they called, I was going to cancel every service I get from them. That worked like a charm :)

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 13, 2014 14:48 UTC (Mon) by epa (subscriber, #39769) [Link]

Are you certain there would be no speedup? It sounds like something you should measure empirically rather than making guesses about, however well-informed. Perhaps one of your neighbours has moved to FTTC and would talk to you about (subjective or objective) speed measurements?

If you currently have ADSL, you will certainly get a much better uplink speed by using FTTC and then a symmetric DSL link from the cabinet to your house. For me the improved uplink speed was the noticeable speed improvement.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 14, 2014 15:41 UTC (Tue) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

The max speed of FTTC in the UK is capped at 40Mb/s (unless you pay for the premium option, which is double that and you can never really get that high). You would be very lucky to get more than 35Mb/s over a single link.

Right now my bonded lines are giving me 39.2Mb/s... so I'd have to pay for premium FTTC, or two FTTC lines, to get any speedup: the latter would eliminate redundancy and cost twice as much as what I'm paying now; the former would eliminate redundancy unless I kept one half of the bonded pair as a fallback, and *still* cost twice as much as I'm paying now.

Thus: not useful.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 15, 2014 14:58 UTC (Wed) by nye (guest, #51576) [Link]

At home we pay £26 per month for broadband and calls with BT (eugh, but they are by far and away the best value for a FTTC connection). Line rental is on top of that of course. This is for an unlimited connection; there are cheaper options if you don't mind a cap. (I average about 500GB per month, but used about 1TB in December with no effect, so I'm fairly confident that this 'unlimited' really is such.)

We are around 100m from the cabinet, which is probably around 400m from the exchange. ADSL was getting us a little over 10Mbps, and was very unstable - dropouts of a second or two most days, often multiple times, and some longer dropouts, not infrequently into the tens of minutes.

We've been on FTTC for about 6 months, at a rate of ~52-54Mbbps down/~16-17Mbps up (for comparison, BT speed estimator suggested we should get 56/18). In that time, we haven't had even a single dropout - we'd probably still have the same IP address allocated if I hadn't restarted my router a few times. It also has dramatically reduced latency - where the RTT to the first hop in ADSL is typically around 40ms, with VDSL it's more like 5ms. Oh, and as a bonus it's PPPoE which is somewhat easier to work with than the usual PPPoA because it means your Linux router can make the connection itself and get its own public IP address, rather than having to sit behind some crappy modem/router job or muck about with half-bridging. (Possibly the elimination of the ATM layer is the reason behind the improved latency?)

On the other hand, at work we have a pair of bonded ADSL lines, and every single time we've had a problem with one, it's affected *both*, so in practice it has bought us no extra reliability, but is far more expensive, slower, and less reliable than my home connection.

In short, given your stated circumstances, I would almost[0] unreservedly recommend at least seriously investigating FTTC.

[0] If you absolutely need a static IP address, I'm not sure what your options might be - probably an extortionate business connection. Also, as one of the UK's biggest ISPs, BT do take part in the court-mandated blocking of HTTP connections to certain websites, which you would need an external proxy to bypass.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 15, 2014 15:34 UTC (Wed) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784) [Link]

[0] If you absolutely need a static IP address, I'm not sure what your options might be - probably an extortionate business connection.

Zen Internet (who, admittedly, are not as cheap as BT) offer a static IP address on all their broadband packages.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 15, 2014 16:08 UTC (Wed) by nye (guest, #51576) [Link]

Hmm, and the connections they're offering now are staggeringly better value than when I looked last year, when it was pretty much only BT that offered an actually unlimited FTTC connection for even remotely feasible prices.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 15, 2014 20:47 UTC (Wed) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

That's nice and fast! But your latency figures for ADSL are *definitely* wrong with respect to modern (ADSLv2max) connections:

4 a.gormless.thn.aa.net.uk (90.155.53.51) 10.417 ms 11.582 ms 11.186 ms

That's actually 8ms if you subtract the time taken to get to the ADSL router.

If you use bonded ADSL, you really do need to ensure that they go via different telco providers using different exchange equipment and backhauls, and if possible via different cable routes (the latter is generally impossible for domestic properties but might be possible for some lucky commercial ones). Otherwise, you're right, most faults will hit both lines at once.

Since I switched to bonded ADSL three years ago, I have had a total of five minutes' downtime that wasn't my fault (a brief ISP-side routing snafu). Given that I am totally dependent on Internet service for my job and even my telephones I wouldn't give that resilience up for a single line, even if it does seem to be faster than it used to be -- I guess you're using premium service if you're >40Mb/s, which is impressive at that price, I thought they charged a lot more than that. That you haven't had a single dropout is luck as much as anything: BT's vaunted '21st century network' is plagued by single points of failure such that single card faults can take out the backhaul to whole towns: smaller failures are downright routine.

As for static IP, I am utterly dependent on it, and more generally on a "nothing but the wires" Internet connection: a non-business-class BT service with dynamic IP, port blocking, no possibility of control of my own DNS, and no IPv6 would cripple me immediately. So BT's (admittedly cheap) no-frills service is not something I could ever consider. Also the increasing blocking of more and more stuff makes my skin crawl: sure, currently none of that stuff is anything I would ever look at, but the scope creep is getting outright ridiculous now (it started out as for child porn only, then it was terrorism, then it was all porn, now it's 'esoteric sites' and breast cancer sites and sites that government ministers or the Daily Mail find vaguely disturbing). How long before they block free software sites on the grounds that downloading software must be piracy? :/ so I'm sticking with an ISP that says 'no blocking ever unless legally forced and we'll try to find a way around any such law if at all possible'.

You might think my mention of free software blocking was hyperbole. Not so, web filter companies have done more insane things in the past: give any man unaccountable power like that and it *will* be abused. At a previous job, an Oracle shop, the corporate web filter suddenly decided to block *.oracle.com because it allowed downloading software which must be piracy, and *.google.com because it enabled proxy avoidance! Neither of these things could be disabled: the company had to turn off the filtering proxy completely (thus letting me get to www.gnu.org again too, which they'd been blocking for ages under 'download site', 'piracy' and 'ideology') and, when the errant web filter provider ludicrously refused to fix this, terminate the filtering contract, at some expense. I can't imagine that provider had very many customers left if they were blocking all Google searches, but still, I never want to get caught like that on my own network connection.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 15, 2014 21:02 UTC (Wed) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

> You might think my mention of free software blocking was hyperbole.

http://www.finegael.ie/latest-news/2014/odonovan-calls-fo...

Fine Gael TD for Limerick, Patrick O' Donovan has called for tougher controls on the use of open source internet browsers and payment systems which allow users to remain anonymous in the illegal trade of drugs, weapons and pornography. Deputy O’Donovan has written to the Oireachtas Communications Committee, of which he is a member, asking it to investigate the matter.

This was on /. and the direct link posted there didn't work for me, so you may have to page through to find the article, it was posted Jan 14

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 15, 2014 23:27 UTC (Wed) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

I didn't expect they'd have got all the way to equating free software use with terrorism yet. Guess I was insufficiently cynical.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 15, 2014 23:39 UTC (Wed) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

There is speculation that the wrong terms are being used[1]. I would guess he's referring to the Tor bundle and things like Silk Road. The hope is that someone fixes the terminology before it hits the lawbooks.

[1]http://www.bit-tech.net/news/bits/2014/01/15/fine-gael-br...

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 16, 2014 14:27 UTC (Thu) by nye (guest, #51576) [Link]

>4 a.gormless.thn.aa.net.uk (90.155.53.51) 10.417 ms 11.582 ms 11.186 ms

> That's actually 8ms if you subtract the time taken to get to the ADSL router.

Wow. I've never even seen anything below 30. It's just occurred to me though that I do always leave interleaving turned on, as I've never seen a phone line good enough to support a stable connection without it (the lines round here are...not the best), so that would explain the difference if we assume that it adds around 20ms.

>If you use bonded ADSL, you really do need to ensure that they go via different telco providers using different exchange equipment and backhauls, and if possible via different cable routes

Do you actually have all this? Sounds like a logistical nightmare to get it set up in the first place, but good to have once you're there :).

>As for static IP, I am utterly dependent on it, and more generally on a "nothing but the wires" Internet connection

I don't know what I was thinking yesterday about the cost of these - must have had a brain fart, because in fact we have a static address on the work connection, plus a /29 block for a monthly surcharge, and it's not crazy expensive. Things have really got better since even this time last year when all the full-featured (ie. non-residential) options came with infeasibly low caps unless you started multiplying the cost by about 5 vs the residential option.

Anyway, if you're happy with what you have then good luck with it - I just wanted to say that of all the internet connections I've ever used, this is the only one that has genuinely lived up to the promises made by the marketing department.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 17, 2014 16:23 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Yeah, interleaving would explain it. It really does slow things down a lot (that's what it's meant to do, trading off latency and bandwidth against reliability).

And yes, I have bonded lines via BT and TalkTalk exchange equipment. All the lines go via the same cabinet, alas, so if a truck hits it I'm still cut off, but hey, it's better than nothing. (What I *don't* have is a way to automatically fail out one bonded line when the link goes dead: the bonding driver won't suffice because my ADSL modem doesn't drop the Ethernet line when the line goes dead -- it can't, its management interface goes over the same line. I'm planning to hack something up that looks at traffic using the netlink interface and rips out routes from the multihop default route when there is no traffic and a test ping fails, but I haven't done that yet, so right now bonded lines are *reducing* reliability for me! or at least they're reducing reliability modulo manual intervention when things go wrong.)

And, yeah, my link is not very cheap and to most people its working-hours bandwidth caps would be appallingly low, but I don't actually use much bandwidth during peak time (I'm working, not watching iPlayer) so that's fine for me. It wouldn't be for everyone, e.g. people with children watching streaming media at 11am!

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 17, 2014 11:31 UTC (Fri) by etienne (guest, #25256) [Link]

> How long before they block free software sites on the grounds that downloading software must be piracy?

Seen that twice already, in a hotel, and in an airport in a very remote location (middle east).

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 13, 2014 17:34 UTC (Mon) by Wol (guest, #4433) [Link]

We used to have ISDN. I know BT don't offer it any more, but I only dropped it because we couldn't get broadband over it. I gather ISDN is standard in Germany and the Germans have no trouble getting broadband over it ...

But with two teenage girls at home, it was great. ISDN modem in the PC so it grabbed whichever line was free, and we gave the girls the second phone number - snag is they didn't use it much - they preferred to keep using the main number :-(

That said, I did think Infinity had advantages, even if I am getting 17Mbit over ADSL ...

Cheers,
Wol

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 13, 2014 19:41 UTC (Mon) by johill (subscriber, #25196) [Link]

ISDN is mostly getting phased out in favour of VoIP (at the line level) with most companies now. Deutsche Telekom is not offering any new contracts without IP, and many others are doing the same. The incentive is that (apparently) it's cheaper in the long run because it removes the need to have the DSL splitter, or something like that. I'm not really sure.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 13, 2014 20:32 UTC (Mon) by andresfreund (subscriber, #69562) [Link]

Which really sucks if you're unfortunate enough to have to send FAXes internationally... Especially older model faxes often fail to to receive such...
I think if you know where to look you can still get classic ISDN from Telekom, but afair it precludes you from getting IPv6 in the near future.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 10, 2014 23:06 UTC (Fri) by rgmoore (✭ supporter ✭, #75) [Link]

Even marginal advantages are worth pursuing as long as the costs are even more marginal. My personal suspicion, though, is that we won't get a smooth adoption curve as costs go down. Instead, there will be a rush to connect things just because we can, especially gadgets that are mostly status symbols to show how high tech their owners are, followed by a swing away from the last round of connected stuff when people discover the problems of connectivity and the lack of promised benefits. Then people will work to reduce costs and overcome the problems with the last round of gadgets, followed by another burst of increased connectivity.

Security and the "Internet of Things"

Posted Jan 13, 2014 14:07 UTC (Mon) by redden0t8 (guest, #72783) [Link]

It already is for me. A "smart"-tv is a deal breaker, regardless of cost.

The UIs are horrible, the remotes are horrible, the apps are of questionable value, they've been found to spy on local networks and now they're trying to add ads too?

There are plenty of cheap options for separate media-players that do a *way* better job of it.

If smart TVs are a sign of things to come with smart appliances, count me out.


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