You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t view innovation as a good thing, and we’re no different. However, it’s important to understand that with new technology comes new cyber security threats. Here’s why, and what you can do to stay ahead of the hackers.
Note: the purpose of this blog is not to denounce new technology, but to make clear that “newer” doesn’t necessarily mean “safer.” Always practice cyber awareness.
How New Technology Opens New Threats
As an organization adopts new, more complex hardware and software, their attack surface, or the number of entry points into their network, increases. Consider these examples.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is comprised of all of those smart devices that connect to the internet, including certain cars, virtual assistants (like Amazon Alexa) and even refrigerators. As convenient as they might be, they serve as an avenue for hackers to exploit and gain access to your wireless network and all of the data on it.
And, as more and more devices become internet-connected, the potential severity of attacks skyrockets. Imagine a hacker shutting down a car on the highway, the alarm system to a house or even the infrastructure of an entire city.
Although new technology tends to have more complex security software, it’s not unhackable by any means.
For example, Apple is (rightfully) praised for making remarkably secure products. Over time, people have begun to view Apple products as hacker proof, thinking there’s no need to take any cyber security measures to protect their devices. Unfortunately, they’re wrong.
GrayKey is a small box that plugs into an iPhone and rapidly guesses passcodes until it finds the correct one. It works on recent versions of iOS, with an update protecting against it available as of July 9, 2018. However, even that patch can be bypassed with relative ease.
The lesson here is that technology companies are always playing catchup, regardless of how sophisticated their security systems are. They’re often stuck responding to hacks by frantically issuing security updates.
Concerns about Biometrics
Biometric authentication, or the use of biological factors like fingerprints or facial scanning to verify one’s identity, has become more popular in the workplace and in daily life.
Security experts have raised numerous privacy concerns about biometric authentication, particularly that data pertaining to faces and fingerprints is stored in government and corporate databases. There are two issues with this:
- It allows organizations to surveil citizens relatively easily.
- Big corporations and government databases get hacked all the time. If their network is breached, hackers have free reign over the biometric data stored within it.
Trends suggest biometrics will become more common in everyday life. To give an example, MasterCard is currently negotiating with banks in the United Kingdom to implement biometric authentication at the point of payment.
How to Stay Protected
The above security concerns aren’t meant to scare you away from buying new technology. They’re simply meant as a warning that your shiny new device isn’t going to protect all of your data on its own.
Always follow recommended security practices, such as:
- Setting a strong password
- Using two factor authentication
- Installing and maintaining an antivirus
- Learning to identify warning signs of cyberattacks
Now is the time to implement these practices, both at your business and in your personal life.