Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
The temptation to get a machine to turn your lights on for you is very strong.
It makes you feel masterful and saves you from having to get up from the sofa.
There's a tiny catch about internet-of-things devices, however. They may not be entirely secure. Please don't take my word for it. For devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home are the subject of this week's tech warnings from the FBI.
Last week, as my colleague Jason Aten reported, it was smart TVs. This time, however, the Portland office of the FBI has released a slightly nerve-affecting warning about, well, I'll let the FBI itself delineate the devices:
Digital assistants, smart watches, fitness trackers, home security devices, thermostats, refrigerators, and even light bulbs are all on the list. Add to that all of the fun stuff: remote-controlled robots; games and gaming systems; interactive dolls; and talking stuffed animals ... well, the list seems endless.
Endlessness isn't good when you consider all the possible digital nooks and crannies into which nefarious beings might roam, thanks to this proliferation of devices.
The FBI puts it like this:
Hackers can use that innocent device to do a virtual drive-by of your digital life. Unsecured devices can allow hackers a path into your router, giving the bad guy access to everything else on your home network that you thought was secure. Are private pictures and passwords safely stored on your computer? Don't be so sure.
I'm never sure about such things. I don't have an Amazon Echo or a Google Home in every room. Actually, not in any room. I have one Apple HomePod and Apple claims it would never, ever compromise my privacy. (I said claims.)
The FBI offers several remedies for your potential digital calamity. They're not all easily enacted.
Change the device's factory settings from the default password. A simple Internet search should tell you how -- and if you can't find the information, consider moving on to another product.
Many connected devices are supported by mobile apps on your phone. These apps could be running in the background and using default permissions that you never realized you approved. Know what kind of personal information those apps are collecting and say "no" to privilege requests that don't make sense.
The FBI then offers a suggestion that few may be in a position to fulfill:
Secure your network. Your fridge and your laptop should not be on the same network. Keep your most private, sensitive data on a separate system from your other IoT devices.
This likely means getting two separate routers. Does anyone -- other than the highly tech-literate -- want to be involved in such maneuvers?
An option is to dig into your router and see if it offers so-called micro-segmentation. This allows you to create separate virtual networks that run from the same router.
Another option is to ask someone who knows about these things to investigate micro-segmentation for you.
Far too often, we're the authors of our own demise. Tech companies help us in this quest by thinking about security long after they've thought about their profits.
But if you really need to have all these devices, don't say the FBI didn't warn you.