I'm putting this letter sent to me here, because I think it's a valid idea but don't have time to develop it. I'm throwing it out to the larger world to get people interested.
This is partly "fuck the cloud" and partly "archive team" related. Are we not preparing ourselves to support crippled "cloud enabled" devices when their master servers somewhere on the internet go bye-bye?
I'm a fan of some of these neat little Internet-enabled devices. I got a second-hand Squeezebox (Internet radio) and a Karotz (Internet radio-rabbit-camera "companion") and have noticed that both of these products have gone through major outages and are as good as dead when the providers decide their useful life is done. What about when Honeywell finally buys out Nest and kills the early products? Will the firmware be smart enough to revert back to a dumb thermostat, or will it just freeze out the house (literally) when it can't contact the server?
We're building up for a lot of future-worthless devices right now. The old BlackBerry phones will be quite worthless without a BlackBerry server on the other side of the cell antenna. iPhones will be pretty crap due to their hooks into iCloud. Androids should in theory be hackable to be somewhat autonomous.
And these purpose-built devices will become more and more worthless. Not only data, but the devices themselves are going to go "down" and become junk. Sure, there's hope with standard ARM platforms, common Android operating systems that we can hack, but there's still plenty of embedded crap that has dependencies on some central server that's duct-taped together.
Are many thinking about creating/reverse engineering some of these server-side apps to make these devices functional past their prime? I'm thinking about the process of patching various devices to point to a new server (or acquiring the old domain) and reviving/simulating server side functionality so these devices work once again. This shouldn't be required, it stinks of faking a DRM server to play weird windows media files or patching a FlexLM license server so some bizarro software can run again.
Bandwidth, interactivity, complexity, it's all going to factor in hosting these kinds of things, but this is just a thought.
Use this for your own thoughts, integrations, ideas, talks, I don't mind at all (but if you want to credit me in some footnote, I'm happy with that but not necessary).
If this was a bunch of blah-blah, my apologies - but I was thinking this might be up your alley. Happy new year and good luck finishing up the DEFCON documentary!
Ryan Sayre London, United Kingdom SW6 4UJ
- The Networked devices page on the File Formats wiki (an Archive Team subdomain) would be a good place to document anything anybody has managed to discover or reverse-engineer about how those gadgets store and transmit data, where they send it to and receive it from, and how to hack and jailbreak them. Dan Tobias 23:22, 10 May 2013 (EDT)