At a time when the world is preparing blast off into the next digital frontier, security concerns are higher than ever. As experts have long predicted, the Internet of things will change everything, either for the better or for the worse. It will either usher in a new dawn in the face of a turbulent humanity or help bring about its downfall.
In the wake of the pandemonium caused by two major cyber security attacks, it would be less than wise to assume that any system is unbreachable. Governments the world over felt the helplessness caused by a compromise in the network when ransomwares named “Wannacry” and “Petya (Notpetya)” launched two distinct full scale assaults on the global computer network in less than 60 days. Not only did the malwares manage to steal and encrypt sensitive information but also brought to attention a brand new threat that has the potential to change the face of humanity as we know it today with just a few pages of codes.
The threat only seems to grow in magnitude as technology progressively penetrates deeper into the human environment. As we create more complex networking systems incorporating more and more elements of the physical world leading to an Internet of Things, the impacts of a network invasion grow more personal.
What is connected to the Internet of Things?
The goal is to eventually have everything in the physical world connected to a cloud network using ubiquitous and pervasive technology. This will be made possible using miniature sensors that will collect data from the physical environment and feed it to the cloud. The sensors, in theory, will be able to gather data on physical proximity, motion, temperature, moisture, sounds, chemicals, torque, magnetism, acceleration and visuals among others.
What can go wrong?
If and when hackers gain footing in the real world and not just the virtual, the effects will be disastrous. Many are concerned about the implications security breaches may have on a personal level. What if hackers could hack into your pacemaker and stop it? What if your car gets hacked when you’re driving at 120 km/h? What if they gain access to your child’s room?
These concerns are not unfounded. As we rocket towards a world where the line between the physical and the virtual are blurred, it is best that we stay prepared. But how can we stay protected?
Prevention is better than cure.
The lawmakers and the people with influence need to be made aware of the real life implications of digital data so that they may act upon cyber threats before attacks are attempted. With the Internet of Things, there is so much more at stake than just bits of data. If organizations and governments paid more attention to building robust network infrastructures instead of trying to fix problems on an ad hoc basis, the whole world would be a more secure environment to live in.