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Kettlegate – a cyber-storm in a tea cup

Go to Google and type in the word “Tea”, nothing else just those three letters, and you might expect to find different brands of tea that are for sale, perhaps a history of tea, but what you’ll actually find is the story of one Englishman, his desire for a cup of tea and a recalcitrant internet kettle.

The scoop involves Mark Rittman, an IT specialist, who purchased a voice recognition system which was supposed to enable him to shout at his kettle to turn it on. No getting out of bed for the digitally savvy Mr Rittman, but at the risk of mixing metaphors, the kettle wasn’t playing ball.

Kettlegate

Mr Rittman awoke at 7am and demanded action from his kettle, the kettle declined and for the next 11 hours, desperate for a cuppa, Mr Rittman brought all his programming skills to bear to get the (damn) thing to work.

Tweeting while he was working, cyber space was soon agog at the lengths an Englishman will go to quench his thirst for tea.

Three hours into the battle he tweeted forlornly: ‘Still no tea. Mandatory recalibration caused wi-fi base station reset, now portscanning network to find where kettle is now.’

Hilariously all the messages of support he was receiving were soon overloading his network and contributing to his woes. He tweeted: “Now the Hadoop cluster in garage is going nuts due to RT to @internetofshit, saturating network + blocking MQTT integration with Amazon Echo.” An expert commenting on this tweet said he thought it meant that Mr Rittman still wasn’t drinking tea.

Success

Just after midnight the world got the news it had been waiting for, Mr Rittman had triumphed: “My work is done. And now onto everything else I meant to do today, after that first cup of tea.”

At which Michael Laccer tweeted: ‘@markrittman At this point, I’m desperate to avoid this future at all costs.’

At Crisis Solutions we warn about the security and vulnerability of the internet of things, particularly when it starts to control critical infrastructure.

Just imagine if some evil foreign power used a cyber-attack to strike down our internet powered kettles, and the digitally enhanced English were left without their morning cuppa, surrender would follow in just a matter of hours.