In our latest podcast, we look at the innovation of technology and its Black-Mirror-like evolution, the threats posed by AI and 5G, and tips for protecting your network.
If you haven’t watched Black Mirror yet, I suggest that you take some time out and binge-watch as much as possible. I was one of those people who didn’t particularly want to watch the show; however, I couldn’t stop once I started. I probably watched all 22 episodes in the space of a week and couldn’t believe what happened in some of the episodes.
With technology as its main subject, Black Mirror has become one of the most fascinating and disturbing series that has come out in the last few years. The creators have taken existing technologies and imagined them in the extreme. The purpose of the Black Mirror show is not just to entertain, but to show us how technology can evolve and how it could potentially become harmful. Criminals are finding new and malicious ways of using technology against their fellow humans.
In the last 10-20 years, technology has evolved at a rapid rate. I remember my mom’s first cellphone, which could only be used for phone calls. Now you can do absolutely everything from your cellphone. TVs were heavy boxes with maybe three terrestrial channels. Now they connect to the internet and 1000’s of channels and apps. They can even respond to our voices. Remember dial-up internet? That dreaded scramble of noise you would hear while waiting to connect. Now you can walk into locations and connect wirelessly to the internet or use your 4G or 5G. I am only 28, and this is the change I have seen. Just imagine what is to come in the next 28 years.
With emerging technology comes emerging threats
One of our favourite types of emerging technologies is the Internet of Things. IoT has become a way of our everyday life; from phones and fitness monitors to smart kitchens and baby care, there is no escaping it. In business, whole communication networks and monitoring devices are completely integrated with IoT, helping them be more effective.
When everything in your home or business connects to the internet, they are subject to the same threats that the internet faces. Unfortunately, most appliances you set up in your home don’t have the security required to keep the hackers out. So, before you add to your home network, ask yourself: Is the convenience this device offers worth the potential risk of a hack? If not, don’t buy one. On the other hand, if you are adamant that you want the device, do your research and determine which brands provide the most security.
Tips for protecting yourself from IoT attacks
There are a few ways to protect yourself from IoT attacks that I suggest you implement into your home and business.
1. Create a secure Wi-Fi network
This might seem obvious, but there are millions of people out there living with unsecured Wi-Fi networks in their homes and businesses. Take your time when choosing a router. Once selected, follow the instructions as well as change your network name and password. Alternatively, you can also create a second Wi-Fi network solely used for your smart home devices. This will prevent hackers from getting into your devices via the same network where you do your banking and store your sensitive information.
2. Unique passwords
Don’t underestimate the importance of your passwords. Use a unique, hard-to-guess password with letters, numbers, and special characters for each device. Try and steer away from using the same password for everything and use a password manager like LastPass to help you remember which password is used for each appliance, app, and website.
Consider professional installation. No one is going to judge you for asking for help from security providers. They can help by handling any hardwiring; they can create great built-in smart home integrations and answer any advanced security questions you may have.
The threat of AI
Another emerging technology that may cause security risks is Artificial Intelligence. AI has been changing the way businesses operate. AI was thought to be one of the best cybersecurity solutions; however, hackers have also jumped onto this bandwagon. Hackers can use AI to cause catastrophic consequences by learning a user’s patterns and behaviours. This helps them access networks for longer periods and gain access to an organisation’s most critical data.
Lastly, the introduction of 5G has changed existing operating environments forever by increasing speeds, capacity and creating lower latency. However, new and traditional attacks could compromise the 5G-enabled devices and networks that underpin CNI operation, causing major chaos.
If we think about the future of this sector, with greater numbers of autonomous vehicles on the road – which will rely heavily on 5G connections for data transfer and decision making – there are potentially life-threatening consequences to an attack. In addition, legacy vulnerabilities in the protocol mean 5G networks built using previous generation networks inherit the same threats, such as tracking user location, obtaining sensitive information and in some cases downgrading users to insecure 3G networks.
Currently, 5G is highly vulnerable to cyberattacks because of its possibilities and flexibility. Everything is managed by software which makes it susceptible to security risks. The number of devices that will be connected is another factor as billions of devices will be connected to 5G networks. One sector that might have huge issues with 5G hacking is the autonomous vehicles sector. These vehicles will rely heavily on 5G connections for data transfer and decision making; this could result in potentially life-threatening consequences to an attack.
The need for agility
New technology is coming out every day; scientists are creating something truly amazing; however, humans are either not careful enough or have malicious intent. If humans purely responsibly used technology, we wouldn’t have the risks and attacks that we experience today.
Have scientists taken it too far? I don’t think so. There is a need for a balance between regulation and agility. First, more research needs to keep people and their privacy safe before new technology is released. Then, governments need to start implementing equipped and agile laws to deal with the complex concerns around emerging technologies and their potential risks.