Samsung SmartThings Stories May 2, 2016

Update: Samsung has issued a statement to us, which just expands on its earlier response. You can read it below the video.

Computer science researchers from the University of Michigan have shown how malicious apps could take control of Internet of Things devices in Samsung’s SmartThings platform – including the ability of an attacker to unlock a front door to gain physical access to a home.

The main weakness identified is that way that the SmartThings platform grants apps more privileges than needed to perform their stated functions, reports The Verge.

The researchers demonstrated this finding with a proof of concept app promising to monitor battery life on various devices. If the user agreed to let the malicious — but seemingly innocuous — app access their smart lock, the researchers could then not only monitor its battery, but perform the lock’s other functions, including unlocking the door. The researchers found 42 percent of 499 analyzed SmartApps are currently over-privileged in a similar way … 

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Samsung SmartThings Stories December 30, 2015

LG adds funky-looking hub to its SmartThinQ home automation system

As home automation devices proliferate, most tech companies seem to have decided that wirelessly connecting them up to a central hub is the best way to enable us to keep them all under control. Apple’s HomeKit platform uses the Apple TV as its central box, and Samsung has its SmartThings Hub.

LG is now following suit, pre-announcing the SmartThinQ Hub it plans to formally launch at CES. Interestingly, the device – which looks similar to the Amazon Echo – has a built-in display, which the company says can display alerts as well as allow direct control of devices without using your smartphone.

LG SmartThinQ Hub serves as a gateway to smart sensors and connected appliances in the home but is more than that, with the ability to display reminders from personal calendars and stream music from its built-in speaker. The elegantly designed SmartThinQ Hub includes a 3.5-inch color LCD display and connects to a smartphone app to facilitate two way communication with smart appliances and smart sensors in the home.

LG also offers SmartThinQ sensors, which aim to turn dumb appliances into smart ones by using things like vibration to allow a washing-machine to signal when a wash is complete.

The company hasn’t yet announced a price, but Samsung’s SmartThings Hub costs $99, so is likely to be in the same kind of range.

Samsung SmartThings Stories January 6, 2015

Announcing a new version of its SmartThings Hub, Samsung co-CEO BK Yoon said that every piece of hardware the company makes will be a connected device within five years.

By 2017, 90% of all Samsung’s products will be Internet of Things devices, and that includes all of our televisions and mobile devices[…] Five years from now, every single piece of Samsung hardware will be an IoT device, whether it is an air purifier or an oven.

Yoon also said that the company was committed to open connectivity, rather than the walled garden approach the company has previously taken, where its devices only talk to other Samsung devices …  expand full story

Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

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