Is your Dyson vacuum now a security risk for virus infection?

In the April 2005 edition of CPU magazine. There is an article in relation to Dyson Vacuum Cleaners now having the ability to phone home. Now this is not amazing in itself. For years companies have been trying to add networking to everyday home appliances. But with these new added features should come concern. Many people have thought the idea of a virus, worm or trojan infecting something other than a computer was some farfetched alarmist nightmare. These people basically felt the idea was ridiculous. Yet the past few years we have seen examples of this happening. Most commonly in relation to cell phones. Some of these people joked about blue screens of death and spyware infections when it was announced that Microsoft would be providing an operating system for cars. Just a few weeks ago we saw articles in regards to certain Lexus models becoming infected with a virus. Buy a Lexus Get a Virus So will we now have to worry about our vacuum cleaners becoming infected as well? This idea may seem a bit bizarre. But would anyone have imagined years ago that a car or phone would become the target of infection? Granted your not going to see many of us “common folk” owning a Dyson. The price isn’t exactly friendly for your average consumer. I know many who would look at someone like they were crazy for spending that type of cash on a vacuum. I might be coming off as alarmist in my comments. This isn’t my intention. Even though I do feel that consumers and product developers do need to consider security when adding / using  these features in home products. Even though computer infection is far from funny. I think it would be hilarious to see the reaction of the first person to find out their vacuum had just becoming infected and isn’t working properly. Will Dyson be offering free antivirus or virus cleaning services when their machines become a target of malware?

The original article that got me thinking about this is posted below.

Dyson Vacuums Phone Home

Nope, no April Fool’s joke (and you know how partial we are to April Fool’s). New models of the famously powerful Dyson vacuums can communicate by phone with support staff and tell them the replacement parts it needs. Self-diagnostic computer chips hold the model number and even how long the unit has been used, and they alert the owner when something breaks down. You call Dyson and (we couldn’t make this up) just hold the phone up to the vacuum cleaner, which sends binary codes over the line. Well, the Dyson always did look a bit like R2D2, so we couldn’t help but include this. Source – Computer Power User Article.

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This morning I should have added to this – that the chance of this happening is very slim. There would have to be a sequence of events take place. That I honestly can’t see happening. But if the Dyson database was hacked. I think it would be possible to send a virus to the machine when it was communicating over the phone.

The point of my post originally was a bit of humor with a mix of seriousness. To show that as we add technology to products. We should consider if there are any security implications that need addressed.

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