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Taking over a Dead IoT Company

ItemDate=2023-01-29 02:42:19 Status=publish

TopicTaglist=['G2', 'G0']

#Discussion(Startup) [ via IoTGroup ]

In early 2018 the company stopped replying to social media posts and very few people had received their purchased signs.Along the way I ended up taking over the company’s sign control domain and writing an exploit to get full control of any signs still in the field.

The Sign
The Sign Powered On
Based on 20170902053604/">archived webpages the NYCTrainSign team was selling signs for $600 but there are articles mentioning prices like $300.It’s just a sign after all.The LED Server written in Python is responsible for drawing to the LED Matrix and getting train data from the company’s API.

It seems that the company could remotely connect to a terminal on every sign.Like most IoT devices the sign makes a lot of system calls.We can then use this to register the sign to our new control server and give people control of their signs again.We instruct the user to restart their sign and our exploit is run on restart The exploit updates any code that’s needed to pair it with our new server
I think the core issue is having a high BOM cost as well as selling a lot of signs at a discount.The sign should have likely been selling at $600 from the very beginning.

The product had some ideas around serving ads but an LED sign isn’t really a “get big fast” kind of company.At even just 60k per founder with the profit per sign sold being maybe $400 you would probably need to sell ~600 signs at full price per year to create enough revenue to run payroll.However it’s unclear how much of that was profit since it seems like many signs were sold at a steep discount.At the end of the day

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