The ‘Internet of things’ (IoT) continues to be all the rage these days, but what does that really mean for us as a society in the broader context? All these ‘things’, including vending machines, Point-of-Sale systems, biomedical devices, HVAC systems, etc., are being connected onto networks. Seems like everything needs to connect and communicate, but we need to think carefully about the implications.
You probably remember the headlines from around this time four years ago, when a data breach at Target resulted in the capture of thousands of payment cards and personal data (and in Target paying nearly $70 million to financial institutions to cover their losses and the cost of reissuing all those cards). Or perhaps you more easily remember the recent data breaches at major health insurers that resulted in the compromise of nearly 80 million medical records across the country.
Cybersecurity Journalist at HackRead, Waqas Amir said it best, “The Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed the way we use everyday objects such as appliances, thermometers, and even lighting”. IoT is increasing in popularity as it is implemented in more businesses and households every day. Unfortunately, the easier IoT devices make our day-to-day lives, the easier it gets for hackers to perform a potentially devastating breach.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, in 2017 alone there were 1579 data breaches, resulting in nearly 179 million records exposed. 163 million of these involved general business exposures, but even the supposed hardened security bunkers of financial institutions saw over 3.1 million record exposures across 134 breaches.
In a shockingly short period of time in 2017, HBO, Equifax, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission landed in what FoxBusiness labeled the Cyber hack hall of shame. Yahoo reported that a 2013 hack that was thought to expose 1 billion user accounts had in fact impacted all 3 billion accounts that existed at that time.
From Public Safety to Parks and Recreation, city governments have a lot to manage with minimal resources. Unfortunately for the already-busy officials, cyber security needs to be a top priority as well, a fact made evident by the recent 9 day attack on Atlanta, Georgia.
People in all walks of life rely on digital recordkeeping, and the government is no exception. Cutting off this flow of information is like severing a main artery. Catastrophic! A lot is at stake.
When my son was an infant we used to play ‘peekaboo’... you know, the game where either you or your child covers your eyes or face, and the other person “disappears”. Then you pop back into view and say Peekaboo!, I see you! The game uses the fundamental structure of all good jokes – surprise, balanced with expectation.