Donald Trump’s counselor and strategist Kellyanne Conway caused uproar online this week when she implied that former president Barack Obama may have used a microwave oven to spy on her boss.
Conway was spouting alternative facts, but what with the array of smartphones, connected TV sets and digital assistants filling our homes, it’s easy to feel that your devices are constantly spying on you.
And maybe they are. Canadian startup We-Vibe, a maker of ‘adult sensual lifestyle products’ has just been fined just under $4m in the US after it emerged that security flaws in its flagship app left customers worryingly exposed.
We-Vibe’s connected sex toy is designed to be used by couples who want to spice things up a little, and can be controlled over long distances using a smartphone, or locally using Bluetooth.
The cock-up saw intimate data gathered from We-Vibe’s toys through the smartphone app, including temperature, intensity setting, and how frequently the vibrators were being used.
Furthermore, it turned out that the toy itself was vulnerable to being controlled by other devices within Bluetooth range.
Affected users can claim up to $10,000 as compensation if they can attest that they used the app to control the sex toy. They will also have to provide their names and phone numbers to make a claim.
Standard Innovation, the company behind We-Vibe, claimed it took security and privacy “very seriously” (but only after it got caught). It said it had now taken steps to secure its app and product.
However, just in case, Downtime recommends steering clear of the connected vibrator and using one’s imagination, which isn’t vulnerable to hacking yet. As far as we know.
Or since we know microwave ovens are safe, try incorporating one of those into your sex life instead.