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Drones and the Internet of Things in the cybersecurity equation

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Digital Marketing Lead, Public Services Sector, IBM Analytics

Technological advancement is unleashing an age of extensive innovation that is chock full of unmanned aerial vehicles known as drones, wearable devices, cognitive thinking and the Internet of Things and connected devices. Alexander Bell once said, “It is the man who carefully advances step by step, with his mind becoming wider and wider…who is bound to succeed in the greatest degree.”

Are the giant steps we’re taking to remove the hinges from innovation’s door also weakening our cybersecurity? Are we ignoring the “carefully advances” phrase in Bell’s axiom?

Widespread security threats

A recent Forbes report shows that cybersecurity incidents have increased significantly, and researchers predict the cybersecurity market will reach $170 Billion by 2020. And no industry is exempt. Cyber criminals target banks, hospitals, universities and even utilities. Does the rabid desire to defy technological norms expose us to even greater cybersecurity threats than ever? Are we sacrificing citizen privacy and safety for the newest gadget?

Consider that according to an International Business Times report, hackers at AnonSec recently claimed they found a way to potentially gain partial control of a NASA Global Hawk drone. Drone technology holds the promise of speed and efficiency for online retail, emergency management and even healthcare. Yet, drones also have the potential to be used as a tool that can invade privacy, conduct corporate espionage and carry out acts of terrorism.

For another contrast, consider that the Internet of Things gives businesses the opportunity to increase productivity and enhance customer experience, among other things. However, a report on Internet of Things security shows there is a “458 percent increase in vulnerability scans of [Internet of Things] IoT devices in the last two years.”

Deep discussion of cybersecurity

Some things we should ponder and discuss:

  • Drones facilitate a range of possibilities, from delivery and fulfillment to logistics, security, law enforcement and action by first responders; however, can these devices be properly protected? How are they susceptible to hacks?
  • What can we do to combat the security risks and challenges drones create? Will these measures enable foolproof prevention of hacking drones?
  • What’s the role of government in drone regulation when it comes to protecting the privacy and safety of citizens?
  • Research indicates only 12 percent of companies are highly confident in Internet of Things security. How can we improve the security of connected devices and instill high confidence in their security?
  • Smart devices collect information about us, our homes and our lifestyles. How can citizens ensure their information is secure from possible cyber attacks?

Here are a few resources that can help us learn more. 

Stay ahead of cyber threats