Hammacher’s DIY Lighting Control Screams, ‘Come Hack Me!’

Hammacher Schlemmer advertises $150 Internet-of-Things light and appliance controller that requires wireless router with port forwarding.

Hammacher’s DIY Lighting Control Screams, ‘Come Hack Me!’
Hammacher Schlemmer IoT lighting controller opens ports to hackers.
Julie Jacobson · February 12, 2014

The Smartphone Light And Appliance Controller from Hammacher Schlemmer “enables remote control of lights and appliances while you are away from home using a smartphone connected to the Internet.”

For $150 you get the tiniest configuration/control hub with one very ugly wall dimmer and one on/off appliance module.

I assume they communicate via Wi-Fi (Internet of Things) because the base station communicates with the devices “through a home’s existing wireless network.”

Here’s the goofy part: “Requires wireless router with port forwarding enabled for accessing system devices via the Internet while away from home.”

First, how many consumers who buy a cheap little lighting control know what port forwarding is?

Second, for those who do know what it is, how many know that port forwarding is the surest way to get your whole home hacked? Not just your light switches but everything connected to the home network?

Next headline: Millions of consumers hacked through Hammacher lighting control.

MUST READ: How to Protect Clients from Home Automation Hacker Bots

UPDATE: Who of my network-savvy friends would like to chime in? My response was: Then it gets complicated, possibly expensive, but I’ll ask my smart friends for the best alternative for a DIY product.

@juliejacobson @Hammacher Very interested in knowing the alternatives available if the vendor doesn’t want to maintain a ‘cloud server’

  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]

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