The workplace today is dominated by mobile devices. Employee interaction via smartphone or tablet has become second nature. They will very likely use them to check work emails, download files containing customer information or access privileged network content remotely without a second thought. Unfortunately, accessing information in this way is inherently insecure. Whether it’s Internet snoopers at the airport, a stolen or lost device or state-sponsored surveillance company, confidential information can all too easily fall into the wrong hands. For this reason, implementing secure business communication techniques that protect the privacy of mobile data – on the device, in transit and at rest – has become essential. The answer lies in a combination of security best-practices and encryption-based technologies such as virtual private networks (VPNs).
Users have long since accepted that software errors can be exploited for digital attacks. In fact, these have become so frequent that only highly critical incidents make the news. Hardware is mostly a different story and not often considered as a security threat. But now the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws can only be described as disastrous. Andreas Stiller from heise IT security news describes the two vulnerabilities with which data from protected internal memory areas can be read by many processors as a catastrophic security incident. Under certain circumstances, the CPU security flaws allow passwords or other confidential information to be read and forwarded to an attacker via a network connection. More than a dozen possible attacks have already been outlined publicly. It can be assumed that stakeholders who are interested in clandestine exploits may also have a few more ideas on the subject which are not in the public domain.
The growing use of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) worldwide is in the process of turning the concept of smart factories into reality. The phenomenon has been described by observers as the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0 for short. Big things are expected. Analysts at Gartner expect manufacturing to account for 57% of total IoT spending in 2017, while total enterprise IoT investments will reach $964 billion. Industry 4.0 promises to combine digital technologies with all-pervasive internet connectivity to produce valuable data. Companies then mine, analyze and convert the information into a wealth of insights. The knowledge will then be used to boost factory productivity, increase supply chain efficiency and make cost savings. As always, new trends bring fresh challenges. Connecting industrial machinery to the outside world can lead to new security risks. Deployment of virtual private networks (VPNs) can help reduce such risks significantly, ensuring that Industry 4.0’s data treasures stay hidden from unwelcome observers.