Software

The biggest threat to the web today: toasters?

The biggest threat to the web today: toasters?

Appliance manufacturers are betting big on digital, but European authorities are ill prepared to police the brave new world.

Early morning US East Coast time on 21 October and internet giants Amazon and Twitter start to notice mischief traffic on their sites. The flow soon grows to a torrent so intense that within hours, the titans of internet traffic spin out of control and go black. Tumblr, Reddit, Spotify and Netflix were brought to their knees the same day. The attack was different not just because of the size of the scalps claimed by hackers, but because they had weaponised a vast drone army of toasters, video cameras, washing machines and other ‘internet of things’ home appliances with little or no defences. The Atlantic ran an experiment shortly afterwards, setting up a wifi toaster and watching it come under attack within just an hour of being turned on.

Is your TV using twice as much power as advertised?

Is your TV using twice as much power as advertised?

Is your TV using twice as much power as advertised?

TVs could be detecting official tests and powering down in order to gain a better energy efficiency rank and higher sales, US energy campaigners are warning. When exposed to real world conditions, the same TVs can double their advertised power consumption, they say. They also shut off energy saving features without warning and block users from turning them back on. This may be adding an estimated $1.2 billion to US consumer energy bills over product lifetimes.

Announcing an investigation into the home appliance industry on the anniversary of Dieselgate

Announcing an investigation into the home appliance industry on the anniversary of Dieselgate

Announcing an investigation into the home appliance industry on the anniversary of Dieselgate

This time last year the Dieselgate scandal erupted. The notorious cheating brought a car giant to its knees and is now threatening others. Less well known are the regulatory parallels between automotive and the appliance sector.

Dyson vs Bosch

Dyson vs Bosch

Sir Dyson clanged down his sword on arch rival Bosch again yesterday, publicly accusing his German foe of pulling VW tricks in some of its vacuum cleaners. Dyson is wrong, but has a point.

Never one to miss a PR opportunity, Dyson told the Telegraph “Bosch has installed control electronics into some of its machines to wrongfully increase energy consumption when in use — to cheat the EU energy label. Their behaviour is akin to that seen in the Volkswagen scandal.”

Our smart future

Our smart future

Computerised cars are smart, but their designers have proven pretty dumb, at VW at least. With most household products looking at an unavoidable digital destiny, the question has to be asked — how clever are factory bosses in the home appliance sector? LG fell into the trap of using defeat devices on fridges, while more recently at least one TV maker seems to be smelling more of diesel fumes than roses.