The Surprising Reason Joe Biden May Not Be Able to Bring His Peloton to the White House
President-elect Joe Biden is getting ready to pick up his life and move it into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in just one week. On Wednesday, January 20, he'll be sworn in as the next President of the United States, followed by an Inauguration special that will include a long list of celeb appearances and performances.
So, as Biden packs up and prepares to start his new life and begin healing our country, there is one (less serious) thing that may have to be scratched off the avid biker's packing list: his Peloton.
Here's why – Pelotons have a built-in camera and connect to the internet to bring thousands of at-home classes to users. And while a potential threat has probably never crossed your mind, according to Popular Mechanics, this could be a major security breach for Biden in the White House.
"Because you're connected to the internet, even though there are firewalls and intrusion detection software ... those things can be gotten around if you're really good and skilled," Max Kilger, Ph.D., director of the Data Analytics Program and Associate Professor in Practice at the University of Texas at San Antonio, told Popular Mechanics.
Cyber security is a real concern these days—we seem to always be worried about some new app or smart device leaking our data. But I've literally never even thought about the Peloton posing a risk.
And maybe for us common, everyday folk, it's not something we really need to fret over. Just be cautious with your information like you're told to do with the rest of your smart devices. But the President of the United States? That's a different story. If Biden really can't ditch the bike (zero judgment—I don't think I could), there will have to be modifications made.
"If you really want that Peloton to be secure, you yank out the camera, you yank out the microphone, and you yank out the networking equipment ... and you basically have a boring bike," Kilger said. "You lose the shiny object and the attractiveness."
There may be a way around it, however. According to The Verge, a person "close to the company" said Michelle Obama had a "modified" Peloton while she lived at the White House—the camera and microphone removed.
During this Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, a lot of America has become dependent on the Peloton, or other similar at-home workout programs, to stay in shape while gyms are closed. I personally have grown close to my Peloton during the pandemic. And yes, that sounds ridiculous, but the people I've probably spent the most time with during the quarantine? My parents and Peloton instructors.
So if Joe and Jill have also become equally as dependent on their bike (though something tells me they've had more important things to do), they will have to take precautions.
"Interestingly enough, there are a number of hacking communities for various IoT [Internet of Things] devices, including the Peloton," Kilger told Popular Mechanics. "For example, they've hacked it to be able to show Netflix shows on the screen, which you really aren't supposed to be able to do, but they've managed it. So someone could actually attack that Peloton bike, install malware, and reach out to other places in the White House."
So it looks like Biden will either need to request a personalized bike from Peloton, tamper with the security features, or leave the bike in Delaware to avoid hackers—and based on recent, er, events (aka terrorism) at the Capitol, there are people out there who would hack the White House through a Peloton.