High profile data breaches at companies like Mossack Fonseca, Target, Home Depot and Wendy’s along with Government controversies like Edward Snowden and the FBI’s legal suit against Apple after the San Bernadino shootings have severely dented public confidence in the ability of business and government to keep personal data safe and secure.
Architects and city planners first began promoting the concept of Smart Buildings, or Building Automation Systems (BAS), around ten years ago. Smart buildings were meant to deliver untold benefits from energy efficiencies and greener lifestyles to cost savings and improved living standards for all. Early examples of IP-connected appliances, however, were not built to cope with the demands of an evolving threat landscape.
The average company network has many more devices connecting to it than even just a few years ago. In addition to traditional workstations there are now smartphones and tablets alongside a wide variety of Internet-connected equipment from printers, access control systems and security cameras to digital signage, smart TVs, thermostats and even everyday appliances like coffee machines. In situations where digital signage shares the network with such a diverse range of devices and applications use of software-based site-to-site VPNs are often the best way to ensure security, signal continuity and optimize flexibility.
Advances in connected car technology are set to radically alter the future of driving for everyone. Among the promised benefits is the ability for cars to ‘learn’ from each other, provide early warning of mechanical problems and remotely interact with other devices. They may also allow insurers to accurately build up a ‘risk profile’ for every driver, leading to reduced premiums for some. Connected cars may even allow car manufacturers to target customers individually with software updates to suit their individual tastes.
For a couple of years now security breaches in the retail sector have seldom been out of the headlines. Breaches at large retail chains like Target, Neiman Marcus and The Home Depot in 2014 were followed in 2015 by Dungarees, Starbucks, CVS, Toys R Us and Wallmart Canada. Some of the latter stores were much smaller illustrating that when it comes to attacks a retailer’s size is not important. According to the annual Global Threat Intelligence Report, retail now makes up 22 per cent of all response engagements, up from 12 per cent the previous year. This is also reflected in the latest report from BDO which lists a possible security breach in joint top spot with “general economic conditions” as the biggest security risk to the retail sector.
Germany is reported to be increasingly left behind in terms of digitization in public spaces. The reason: There are just not enough hotspots available. A political decision has now been taken to abolish any “disturber“ liability (“Störerhaftung” under German law). This means, the door has been closed for any business models based on cease and desist letters. This will pave the way for more free hotspots in cafés, at airports, train stations and hotels.
Many professionals frequently use free Internet access in remote locations, especially when they travel, making them easy targets for hackers. And while most encrypt their private Wi-Fi to ensure data protection and IT security related to corporate network access, they seldom take the same precautions when surfing the Internet or checking email from public hotspots.