Blog: Internet Of Things

Who wants a hairbrush that’s connected to the internet?

Ken Munro 06 Jan 2017

We spoke to the New Statesman yesterday:

“Who wants a hairbrush that’s connected to the internet? Well, its manufacturers – Kérastase, Withings and L’Oréal – seem pretty excited about it. They unveiled the gadget at the CES technology show in Las Vegas to great fanfare.

The £160 Hair Coach is part of the “internet of things” – devices that promise to be smarter and cooler because they are connected to the web. It contains a microphone that promises to record the sound of breaking hair, and multiple sensors that will send data about your brushing technique to an app on your phone.”

Unsurprisingly I have reservations about yet-another-IoT-device.

While Withings say it won’t/can’t pick up voices “unless the user is speaking really closely to the brush” I’m sceptical, even though they say that they will apply filters to make that impossible.

It might well be configured to listen only to certain frequencies, but that capability is often managed in the software rather than the hardware, meaning that there is potential to modify it to create a bug, which can then be exploited.

The fact that they say “all our datas [sic] are encrypted” doesn’t fill me with any confidence- I’ve heard it all before from other IoT manufacturers.

…who promptly changed their minds once we privately disclosed the flaws and failures in their “security” models.