Should I Be Concerned About Cybersecurity?

Yes.

Of course you should be.

Experts predict that by 2020 there will be 200 billion connected things. We’re talking cars, planes, homes, cities, and yes, even animals. Software is being placed everywhere, and it’s changing the way we live, and how we behave and interact with the world around us. As technology becomes more and more integrated into our day-to-day lives, we become more and more dependent on it. But this dependence makes us vulnerable if technology fails.

I mean, I know for me, when I’m on the road and my iPhone runs out of battery, it pretty much feels like the end of the world. Am I directionally challenged? Yes. But even more than my GPS being gone, I’m not able to access my contacts; my messages are disabled. In such moments, you realize how dependent you are on technology. It’s ridiculous, but it’s 100% true.

In today’s world, it’s important that technology is available, protected and secure. If not, we will all suffer consequences in our daily lives.

Cybersecurity Problems Are Everywhere

While I have a generally positive view of technology, I am worried about our future. I believe it’s important to be aware of the serious cybersecurity problems currently affecting technology.

And it seems that the same problems keep happening over and over again. We are not getting any better as far as what’s vulnerable and what’s secure. Technology appears to be becoming more and more insecure as we get more and more dependent on it.

From what I can see, most technology is vulnerable and can be hacked. We see examples of this every day: alarm systems, power grids, automobiles, traffic systems, the list goes on. Every year, thousands of cybersecurity problems are identified in technologies from well-known vendors. Some of those vendors are among the best at cybersecurity, yet they still have hundreds of security problems each year.

Cybersecurity Threats Are Increasing

A recent report on IoT cybersecurity found that 70% of devices did not encrypt communications, while this survey found that IoT cybersecurity and privacy are a top concern for people and companies.

Another report found that cyberattacks have been growing quickly over the last couple of years, and there’s nothing to indicate they won’t just keep increasing.

All of these cybersecurity problems make cyberattacks easier and more dangerous. So why are there so many cybersecurity problems in today’s technology? My research has shown that the main problems are threefold.

First, a lack of knowledge and awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. Some companies don’t care about cybersecurity, while others care but don’t know what to do or how to do it. Second, complex scenarios where old, new and different technologies are used together. This happens frequently as businesses update, and just one insecure component could make a whole system insecure. Finally, a lack of time and money for security. Products need to be built and released quickly. There is a “fail fast, fail often” mantra, which is only fine as long as you “fail safe.”

The Economic Impact of Cybersecurity Attacks is Significant

Cybersecurity problems and attacks cause billions of dollars in losses every year. For example, the smart alarm SimpliSafe hack that affected 300,000 devices, and the only possible fix was to replace all of them. The UK company TalkTalk was hacked and lost about £50 million. They also lost more than 100,000 customers, and their stock value declined by 20%. A car hack in 2015 resulted in 1.4 million cars being recalled by Chrysler. And we can’t forget the Sony hacking scandal that resulted in millions of dollars in losses.

It’s clear that there are growing cybersecurity problems. And beyond having an economic impact, they also have an impact in our daily lives as our technology dependence continues to grow. In 2018, we must work together to change this situation before it gets even worse.