Cyber-attacks – just one click away

The beauty of digitisation is how it brings everyone together. The appeal of communicating and doing business from a "connected" device is so popular that it has quickly become routine. In fact, it seems people won't stop until they can access anything from anywhere. And who could blame them, after all it's been a great success until now. What could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, the scope for problems may well be greater than most people realise or even care to think about. As society's dependence on digital technology grows, the security of our digital foundations is failing to keep up. That's because consumers are still more interested in the innovative side of technology than the security aspect.

Take the Internet of Things (IoT) as an example, whereby electronic devices are equipped with the means to interact remotely and relay information. This innovation is triggering a massive increase in interconnectedness. The benefits of IoT are glamorous and futuristic, for example intelligent cars and traffic systems. Its business potential is too big to ignore.

On the other side of the coin, however, the risks associated with the IoT are potentially catastrophic. Take the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on Dyn (a domain name system provider) in October 2016 as an example. That incident prevented users from accessing many websites and came in three waves over one day. This attack stood out through its enormous scale and sophistication.

Is it a sign of things to come? Possibly so, as many of the new intelligent devices, such as cameras or heating systems, come without adequate security features. As a result, they offer a back door to hackers trying to access a company's IT system. Moreover, as the IoT continues to grow, the harder it will become to keep track of your company's vulnerable points.

In that respect, the IoT mirrors the digital revolution in that it has exploded on to the scene and opened up countless opportunities. Meanwhile, the potential for problems has been overlooked. The corporate world urgently needs to formulate a robust response to this threat. Remember, it only takes one click.

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