SN 821: Epsilon Red

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

If someone is worried about Amazon spying on their network or using their bandwidth with Sidewalk, what the heck are they doing with any Amazon hardware in their house in the first place?


With regard to the Microsoft report about the phishing campaign, I read that as exactly what it was, I was surprised that Steve was reading it in an excited voice… It details a normal phishing campaign that resulted from the SolarWinds attack, for me, other than who was targeted, the report seemed rather bland.

I’m not as worried about any spying… but I don’t see why I should let one of the world’s richest companies use my bandwidth for their benefit without compensation. As for why they would have the product to begin with, well this “feature” was added after they purchased it… without any input…

totally, totally agree - this is crap

It isn’t for Amazon’s benefit, directly, but for IoT devices that need more range. LoRa is very low bandwidth. A 1mbps line could support hundreds of devices. Usually, they are designed to send a data blip of a few bytes every couple of minutes.

It should use a fraction of a percent of your bandwidth.

I wouldn’t want it because of possible security issues. The low bandwidth usage is negligible, at least until there are millions of devices in range of your network. But it is an unproven protocol at the moment.

For a better description of how this works, you should look at the last couple of TWiG shows. @gigastacey went into a lot of detail on how LoRa works. She uses Helium and earns real money sharing her bandwidth. Unfortunates, the amazon sidewalk isn’t compatible with the LoRa standard, but the principle is the same.


If it’s not for their benefit, then why would they do it? Clearly it benefits their future product plans, if not also the fact that they’ll probably sell access to the network for other (non-Amazon) products. If you want LoRa and don’t want Amazon to charge you for it, you can pay for it with cash/crypto via Helium. The Pine64 people are big into LoRa as well it seems. ( Category: LoRa | PINE64 )

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As I said @gigastacey explained it very well, especially the Helium part.


Not going to lie, this is probably the most detailed thing I have read about Sidewalk (and it’s not THAT detailed.) It does make clear that Amazon is fully in charge, and that the only way a device can use the network (when Amazon eventually opens it up to anything not of their creation) is by paying Amazon to access their SNS (Sidewalk Network Sever.) So yes, this whole thing provides a way for controlled devices to selectively send secure messages to Amazon… and that is all. If you want those messages for your product, you’re going to be paying Amazon for that access. Based solely on that design, I would be out, and I think everyone else should be out as well. Unless Amazon is paying the users for this, the users should not be opted in.

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I disabled it before it went into affect. I see the only one benefiting from this set up to be Amazon. All of my IoT are on their own vlan separate from my main network so not worried about any nefarious things happening. But who knows…

I dont need Amazon having my devices connecting to my neighbors devices. No thanks Bezos.

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Yes and no. The benefit will be, when more and more IoT devices require LoRa networking, if Amazon’s offering in this space takes off, then you will need it.

The network isn’t for Amazon’s benefit, as in, it isn’t for them to use your Wi-Fi coverage for themselves, their devices enable other IoT devices to report back to their makers over the LoRa or Bluetooth built into the Amazon devices and then over your network (I think the limit is just a few MB a month, maximum) to the manufacturer’s servers. Yes, Amazon get a tithe from the manufacturers for being able to use their network.

If it is your IoT devices that will use it in the future, you will benefit. If they are out of range of your network and latch onto your neighbours network, you will have a net gain. If you have mobile IoT devices (trackers, for example), when the tracker is away from the house, it will report in at regular intervals, when there is another LoRa network in the area.

If everyone has it turned on, it is a net gain for society - assuming that devices and users don’t abuse it (putting trackers in the bags of partners etc. without their consent or knowledge) and assuming the protocol is secure.

I don’t use any Amazon IoT tech, so it isn’t relevant to me, but I would consider turning it on, for the act of helping others. But I wouldn’t turn it on at the moment, because it is a new protocol and it is not proven to be secure - it was designed with security and privacy in mind, but it hasn’t been tested by hackers or the great unwashed in general.

I am single, no pets, kids, etc to track. Of no benefit to me. Know how little my neighbors know about tech (they all come knocking on my door for the simplest of things), would not allow anything of mine to touch anything of theirs. Working in Cyber Security now, I would wait a while to see if it gets hacked. Just my thoughts

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Mine too. There are plenty of values reasons not to do it.

It is the “I use amazon services but I wouldn’t let amazon do this” that seems a bit odd.