Covid and Comcast: The Perfect Hack

Covid and Comcast: The Perfect Hack


Sometimes, real life shows you the true potential of ‘The Perfect Hack’.

Last week, after a trip to San Diego, I woke up with cold like symptoms.  So, I took a Covid test on Wednesday and it was positive.  Fortunately, I am fully boosted so my illness was mild but regardless it was necessary for me to quarantine in my house for 5-7 days.   That Friday my friends at Comcast decided that reliable TV and Internet were now optional, and I lost all connectivity to my house.   And, as Sunday was Father’s Day, I was double disappointed because my Covid Quarantine had given me the perfect excuse to watch the US Open and literally everyone had to leave me alone (grin).

But, alas, it was not to be.

Then it occurred to me – what a perfect hack.   No TV, no internet, and I can’t go anywhere.

So, I started thinking – and I had a lot of time to do so – if I was going to cause America a giant headache, I would attack the cable companies.  Think about it – no TV, no internet, no Alexa (how do you turn off lights BTW).  And the only fix was a truck roll from Comcast that they could not do for 5 days.

For a long-time I have been pondering the ease by which someone could hack your TV and make your life miserable – and it is not like the fix is easy.  What do you do? Buy another TV, get someone to do a truck roll to fix everyone’s TV, or perhaps the brand damage is so bad that they just mail everyone a new TV.  None of these are good choices (both heavy on time and money).

Considering recent events, I now realize that the better attack is that simple modem into your house from your Cable/ Internet Provider.  It is easy to hack.  In fact, I wonder why no one has done it yet.   If you really want to make things painful for Americans – take away their TV and Internet.  Brilliant.

The irony here is that the fix is simple.  There are tools today that can be used to protect your modem into your house from malicious software – not that they are implemented as the price might add another $0.25 to the BOM cost of your modem (got to keep that cost down).   My company does it today for folks that do worry about the potential for exactly this kind of hack.

However, we as consumers do not demand the protection and the cable companies don’t want to spend the money – and you know the government does not want to tell them what to do (if they could agree).   So, enjoy your connectivity but do not take it for granted because what is here today could (and likely will) be gone tomorrow.

Postscript:  No TV or Internet did allow me time to have some great conversations with my spouse, read some books that I have really wanted to get to, and take a nap or two.  And, without all the noise of the world, my stress level did go down quite a bit……but, I knew how long my outage would last.  With a hack – all bets are off for how long the fix would take.