Liz Hitchcock

Why Minim, continued

Genesis stories are always subjective. While you may be well versed in the one about how Minim was founded in response to the Mirai botnet attack from October 21, 2016, there's a bit more to the story— this time, from a parenting point of view. 

Liz Hitchcock, Minim Founder and Head of Operations, on Why Minim

Jeremy and I had put Foscam wireless cameras into each of our three children's rooms after they were born so that we could check on them at night— very similarly to how many parents use Nest Cameras as baby monitors these days.

As with Nest Cameras, Foscam wireless cameras could be used to remotely monitor, see with night vision, and hear if our kids needed us through the built-in microphone. While it was perfect for when Jeremy was traveling and wanted to see the kids, it turned out that, just as with Nest Cameras, these could also be remotely hacked to speak to someone via the camera. At the time, 40,000 Foscam cameras were found to be vulnerable, which included ours.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 1.59.15 PM

Screenshot taken November 7, 2019 from Amazon product page.

Naturally, we took each and every one of these cameras out of our children's rooms and threw them away. While this was a quick safeguard and fix, it still left me worried about all of the other devices we had in our house.

You see, we're geeks and had nearly every aspect of our house automated. TVs, speakers, window shades, sprinkler systems, hot tub pH and temperature monitors, lights, solar panels, garage doors, thermostats, weather stations, and even a pet feeder that could be used to remotely watch our dog and give them treats when we checked in— all of these devices were actively running on our home network.

So, how was I to know if that one time we set up a new smart TV and followed its included setup instructions for connecting to the internet, that we didn't do it correctly, or that it had created a tunnel into our house that we didn't know about, or that we simply forgot to change default passwords? With nearly 70 devices on our network, how did we know that our kids and their friends weren't setting up new devices, or that people we didn't want using our home network weren't getting in?

This is the rest of the story as to Why Minim. I knew that Minim could answer all of these questions that kept me up at night when one day, Minim sent me a friendly alert: "Quarantine your sprinkler system." Turns out, Minim had caught that our smart yard sprinkler was calling home to a foreign entity on a known-bad server list. As you can guess, this device headed straight to Minim's IoT test lab, and we went ahead and installed a new sprinkler system.

Every once in a while as I get these kinds of security alerts from Minim— such as "A new device has joined your network" and "Security scan not passed"— I feel safe knowing that something is looking out for our home network, and by extension, our house and family.

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