Detonation by Remote: What Cyber “In-security” Might Really Mean…

Oil Rig off Coast Of AlaskaEvery time we turn on the news, we hear the word “cyber” so much that it’s become merged in a decoupage of meaningless chatter. But, what does it really mean?

Almost every global corporation relies on connectivity to the internet through a range of electronic devices. The world has become the domain for billions of chips and interconnected devices activated by a plethora of electronic signals. In just a few short years, endless numbers of end user devices gained IP addresses and the ability to be remotely activated for everything from remote meter reading and home security monitoring, to detecting when you are out of milk in your refrigerator. So, from Budweiser beer, to internal computers on our cars, to nuclear plants, gazillions of devices have become accessible over the network. Not only do we now have countless numbers of devices linked by wireless networks, but we have an ongoing barrage of software maladies lurking in lines of poorly crafted or malicious code which can often carry nasty little destructive payloads (viruses, trojans, etc.).

By integrating cellular networks, WIFI networks, and long haul networks, someone in another global location could theoretically access your cell phone, computer, or a nuclear power plant, oil rig, or the power grid. We often forget about the infinitesimal number of devices getting connecting to the net as time progresses. We also forget just how much of our life is dependent upon computers. This becomes rapid reality when you realize your SUV’s onboard computer system has failed and door locks, windows, and transmission begin to malfunction.

RFID tags have long been the paradise-sought of the grocery store business, which may, one day soon, send checkers into workforce obsolescence as “drive through” carts, scanning the entire mound of groceries take their place. What Cyber gurus lose sleep over is not the many networked devices and hack-ability of computers and cell phones, but the vulnerability of critical infrastructure, such as the power grid, oil and gas infrastructure, banking, and any connected infrastructure that can disrupt commerce or simply make the economy screech to a terminal halt.

Many industry executives are often quite surprised when they learn that someone can remotely tinker with their equipment since they are usually thinking about computer viruses. On a daily basis, our world becomes increasingly more interconnected through the internet, presenting the possibility that physical objects containing computer chips and signal receivers can be tampered with, from simply being disabled, to being remotely blown-up through a variety of means.

TrendsDigest will soon release its Sector Cyber Analysis Report (SCAR) detailing challenges faced by individual sectors. TD

Copyright Trends Digest 2013 All Rights reserved.

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