New report from TÜV Rheinland warns of cybersecurity threats posed by the rising number of smart devices and weaknesses in real-time operating systems.
The Cybersecurity Trends 2020 report by the global leader in quality standards and independent inspections explores the “expanding relationship between cybercrime and our physical safety, potential impacts on society and risks to the environment”.
Moving forwards, it predicts cybercriminals will focus more on ‘Internet of Things’ smart devices and similar applications used for operational technology in areas as diverse as transportation, critical infrastructure, shipping and supply chains.
It is predicted that there will be 75 billion networked devices online by 2025, all with their own security flaws and vulnerabilities. Simply installing the latest security patches won’t be enough to thwart increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks.
TÜV Rheinland’s Cybersecurity Trends 2020 identifies the following major risks that are likely to have a lasting impact on digital society’s future:
- The unregulated mining of personal data risks destabilising digital society
- Smart supply chains will be targeted by hackers, rendering them ‘dumb’
- Smart consumer devices are multiplying faster than they can be secured
- Threats to the Shipping Industry have moved from theory to reality
- Real-time operating systems ‘superflaws’ risk creating a post-patching era
- ‘Bring Your Own Medical Device’ is an Internet health crisis in the making
- Vehicles and transport infrastructure are a new candidate for cyber-attack
“Digitalisation offers many advantages. But it is important that these systems and thus the people are safe from attacks.
“Smart speakers, fitness trackers, smart watches, thermostats, energy meters, smart home security cameras, smart locks and lights are the best-known examples of the ‘Internet of Things’.
“Smart devices are no longer just toys or technological innovations.
“These types of device are quickly becoming an integral part of everyday life. It is easy to see a future in which the economy and society will become dependent on them, making them a very attractive target for cyber criminals.”
– Petr Láhner, TÜV Rheinland Executive Vice President for Industry Service and Cybersecurity
Cyber And Smart Grids
There are several recent events where electricity grids and networks have been subjected to cyber-attacks such as ransomware.
Last July, an attack on City Power disrupted power supplies to thousands of people living in South Africa’s biggest city Johannesburg.
Russian hackers are claimed to have shut down parts of Ukraine’s power grid in both 2015 and 2016.
Years before, an attack named Stuxnet crippled Iranian nuclear facilities. While in October 2019, the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNP) in India was reportedly compromised.