Joe Biden’s Internet-connected bike: New cybersecurity risk for the US Govt?
After a few convulsed weeks resulting from a highly controversial electoral process, Joe Biden has finally begun to serve as president of the United States and, although there are no one doubts the Democrat veteran’s abilities to take the job, many people believe that the US government could do better to address some issues, including cybersecurity.
It has been made public that Biden is working out at his home using a stationary bicycle from manufacturer Peloton; this bike includes a phone and a camera, which in an undesirable scenario would expose the president to all kinds of cyberattack attempts, according to a specialized report.
“Any device equipped with an Internet connection could be available to threat actors, regardless of whether it has a firewall or any other security mechanism,” says Max Kilger, a researcher at the University of Texas in charge of the report. In addition to pointing out the security risks, Kilger mentions that the developers of Peloton bikes would have to use much less sophisticated software than the current one to prevent many of the attacks to which this machine is exposed: “Removing the camera and microphone is a good start; turning off bike streaming features is also recommended,” adds the expert.
Not just the newcomer President Biden could be exposed to the hacking of this gym equipment. The most recent reports indicate the detection of a large increase in demand for Peloton bikes since the beginning of the social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, as people now exercise at home. It should be noted that these bikes are not exactly accessible, since each one costs a little more than $2,000 USD.
Concern about these kinds of potential risks is not new to the United States. security agencies. In his recently released memoirs, former President Barack Obama reveals that the Secret Service provided him with a BlackBerry device specifically modified to only send emails, as its call or SMS features were disabled.
The work of these security teams increased considerably during the period of government of Donald Trump, who was obsessed with continuing to use his personal phone to make calls inside the White House, regardless of the constant warnings about the very high security risks involved in this practice. Let’s hope President Biden is more accessible about information security risks than the most routine activities in his life can present.
Originally published at https://www.securitynewspaper.com on January 21, 2021.