OPINION: Putin is getting into hot water

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17 February 2017 12:08PM

IF we believe the reports, the Russians have hacked into the US elections to ensure their man Boris Trump was elected.

They have revealed the medical records of some of our top athletes, causing embarrassment and concern in equal measure.

They have cast doubt on Sky cycling team’s claims that they are completely drugs free, with questions over the legality of drugs used by Sir Bradley Wiggins for his asthma.

And horror of horrors, they have revealed that the sainted David Beckham is desperate for a knighthood and went a bit potty-mouthed when he heard that singer Katherine Jenkins had made it into the honours list squad and he was left out.

But worse, much worse than all this is the frightening news that computer hackers could take control of our shiny new Wi-fi kettles.

Forget banking, power stations, security centres, health services and industrial espionage, our kitchen gadgets are under threat.

The warning comes from Philip Hammond, the former defence and foreign secretary. He has overseen the work of our security services and knows exactly what is involved and how we are threatened.

Mr Hammond says GCHQ’s new national cyber security centre in London blocks around 2,000 hack attacks a day, some of them targeted at household appliances.

In the past six months alone it has blocked 34,550 potential attacks on our government departments and services. I can understand his concern,

But I can’t help feeling that anyone who feels the need to pay more than £100 for a kettle so they can “remotely boil” some hot water from anywhere in the house – or to set it so they can make a cuppa as soon as they step inside their house deserves to have their over-controlled life disrupted.

I know I should have the latest 4G-enabled fully apped-up piece of kit that changes colour and can be programmed to whistle God Save The Queen, Norwegian Wood or Agadoo.

But why when it takes less than a minute with the intensely laborious and laughably old-fashioned manual version I have at the moment.

True, there is the incredibly annoying, time consuming and potentially lethal aspect of flicking the switch to put the kettle on.

But that probably takes less time than it will to reach for your phone, find the app for the kettle and tap it into “on” mode.

And kettles will be just the first of our devices to be hacked.

Imagine having toast pop out randomly and over (or under) done just when your boiled egg is at peak point? Or your fridge could suddenly just as your chilling down a lemon posset. Our heating systems could be turned up or switched off and in our bathrooms, clever showers that can be controlled remotely with just a few taps and swipes and a couple of hours spent programming, rather than all that faff and bother of turning a lever or a dial, are all at risk.

Civilisation as we know it is under threat. Cyber warfare knows no bounds. I’m all for advancing technology, for making life safer and better, but sometimes we advance down a cul-de-sac. But don’t we and GCHQ have slightly bigger things to worry about?

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