The International Labour Organization has recently recognized cybersecurity as a part of World Day for Safety and Health at Work as being hacked does not just put company’s assets or reputation at risk, but can also affect people’s health.
The World Day for Safety and Health at Work , an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work, held on April 28th has been observed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2003. How does cybersecurity factor into it? It doesn’t, at least not yet. The World Day for Safety and Health at Work has typically focused on “occupational accidents and diseases”, with recent themes focusing on safety and health culture (2015) and workplace stress (2016).
But, it could be argued, cybersecurity awareness should factor as part of this day – officially or otherwise (it’s a great opportunity to raise awareness of workplace-related health and safety).
“Cybersecurity is now a global issue, affecting companies of all sizes and every employee, at all levels of a business,” says Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO of ESET South Africa, “the time is now for enterprises to see this issue as an important consideration when it comes to health and safety.”
In fact, in today’s connected era – where the Internet of Things enables everything from smart fridges to connected pacemakers – it could be argued that security and safety now go hand-in-hand.
“We need to reverse the trend to connect everything to the internet,” said computer security guru Bruce Schneier in a recent article for New York Magazine. “And if we risk harm and even death, we need to think twice about what we connect and what we deliberately leave uncomputerized.
“If we get this wrong, the computer industry will look like the pharmaceutical industry, or the aircraft industry. But if we get this right, we can maintain the innovative environment of the internet that has given us so much.”
Why should you boost cybersecurity in the workplace?
Cybersecurity is increasingly important in the workplace, simply because of the impact it can have on every aspect of business, from the safe storage of information to the prevention of data breaches, which could impact revenue. Cyberattacks can, at their worst, put companies out of business, or cause firms to be penalized by huge fines from data protection authorities (DPAs) – something that will become increasingly significant when the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation is introduced.
Fortunately, in many ‘switched on’ firms, cybersecurity has become more high profile – it’s a boardroom agenda item. Firms are conducting regular security training awareness programs, with security teams empowered by boards to protect themselves from latest threats.
The danger if you don’t is well publicized. Statistics show that 38% of breaches are internal, with a 2015 study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham revealing that three out of four companies view employee negligence as the greatest breach threat. The study also found that around 75% of employees upload classified work files to personal cloud accounts.
These figures are at risk of going significantly higher as companies embrace the cloud and become more connected through the IoT.
As examples of this connectivity – and the growing risk – the largest UK hospital was hit by a ransomware attack in January, while one month earlier a DDoS attack on automated buildings systems in Finland disabled heating controls.
Separately, two white hat security researchers from the US managed to hack into the building management system of an office belonging to a tech giant in Sydney, Australia, while – in an incident illustrating the dangers of IoT security – St. Jude Medical’s connected pacemaker was found vulnerable to attack. Cybersecurity and health and safety clearly go hand-in-hand.
Why should companies make cybersecurity as important as health and safety?
The introduction of health and safety regulation has steadily improved employee welfare over the years, from reducing stress and accidents to insurance claims.
Companies that prioritize cybersecurity will likely see even greater benefits, from better defense and fewer successful attacks to more funding from the board for technology solutions. Ultimately, a stronger defensive posture will help improve brand reputation (which is usually negatively impacted in the event of a data breach), safeguard revenues and – in certain critical operations – save lives.
Furthermore, some would argue that companies simply have to embrace cybersecurity – cybercriminals are leveraging the latest technologies, cybercrime-as-a-service is commonplace and the desire for businesses to use data for competitive advantages puts them at greater risk. Cybersecurity has to be a top priority from company boardrooms on down if digital businesses are to be truly protected.
Seamus Doyle, CIO at Northern Ireland Water, emphasized the importance of cybersecurity in relation to health and safety in an interview last year with Business Reporter.
“When I am talking with some of my senior colleagues, [cybersecurity] is not quite as serious as health and safety but it is the next step down,” he said.
“Companies have long since moved past sacrificing health and safety for productivity. It is not an acceptable way to do business and people are moving to the same mindset with cybersecurity.”
Tech promotes connections across groups in emerging markets
Digital technology users say they more regularly interact with people from diverse backgrounds
Smartphone users – especially those who use social media – say they are more regularly exposed to people who have different backgrounds. They are also more connected with friends they don’t see in person, a Pew Research Center survey of adults in 11 emerging economies finds.
South Africa, included in the study, has among the most consistent levels of connection across age groups and education levels and in terms of cross-cultural connections. This suggests both that smartphones have had a greater democratisation impact in South Africa, but also that the country is more geared to diversity than most others. Of 11 countries surveyed, it has the second-lowest spread between those using smartphones and those not using them in terms of exposure to other religious groups.
Across every country surveyed, those who use smartphones are more likely than those who use less sophisticated phones or no phones at all to regularly interact with people from different religious groups. In most countries, people with smartphones also tend to be more likely to interact regularly with people from different political parties, income levels and racial or ethnic backgrounds.
The Center’s new report is the third in a series exploring digital connectivity among populations in emerging economies based on nationally representative surveys of adults in Colombia, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, the Philippines, Tunisia, South Africa, Venezuela and Vietnam. Earlier reports examined attitudes toward misinformation and mobile technology’s social impact.
The survey finds that smartphone and social media use are intertwined: A median of 91% of smartphone users in these countries also use social media or messaging apps, while a median of 81% of social media users say they own or share a smartphone. And, as with smartphone users, social media and messaging app users stand apart from non-users in how often they interact with people who are different from them. For example, 52% of Mexican social media users say they regularly interact with people of a different income level, compared with 28% of non-users.
These results do not show with certainty that smartphones or social media are the cause of people feeling like they have more diverse networks. For example, those who have resources to buy and maintain a smartphone are likely to differ in many key ways from those who don’t, and it could be that some combination of those differences drives this phenomenon. Still, statistical modelling indicates that smartphone and social media use are independent predictors of greater social network diversity when other factors such as age, education and sex are held constant.
Other key findings in the report include:
- Mobile phones and social media are broadening people’s social networks. More than half in most countries say they see in person only about half or fewer of the people they call or text. Mobile phones are also allowing many to stay in touch with people who live far away: A median of 93% of mobile phone users across the 11 countries surveyed say their phones have mostly helped them keep in touch with those who are far-flung. When it comes to social media, large shares report relationships with “friends” online who are distinct from those they see in person. A median of 46% of Facebook users across the 11 countries report seeing few or none of their Facebook friends in person regularly, compared with a median of 31% of Facebook users who often see most or all of their Facebook friends in person.
- Social activities and information seeking on subjects like health and education top the list of mobile activities. The survey asked mobile phone users about 10 different activities they might do on their mobile phones – activities that are social, information-seeking or commercial in nature. Among the most commonly reported activities are casual, social activities. For example, a median of 82% of mobile phone users in the 11 countries surveyed say they used their phone over the past year to send text messages and a median of 69% of users say they took pictures or videos. Many mobile phone users are also using their phones to find new information. For example, a median of 61% of mobile phone users say they used their phones over the past year to look up information about health and medicine for themselves or their families. This is more than the proportion that reports using their phones to get news and information about politics (median of 47%) or to look up information about government services (37%). Additionally, around half or more of mobile phone users in nearly all countries report having used their phones over the past 12 months to learn something important for work or school.
- Digital divides emerge in the new mobile-social environment. People with smartphones and social media – as well as younger people, those with higher levels of education, and men – are in some ways reaping more benefits than others, potentially contributing to digital divides.
- People with smartphones are much more likely to engage in activities on their phones than people with less sophisticated devices – even if the activity itself is quite simple. For example, people with smartphones are more likely than those with feature or basic phones to send text messages in each of the 11 countries surveyed, even though the activity is technically feasible from all mobile phones. Those who have smartphones are also much more likely to look up information for their households, including about health and government services.
- There are also major differences in mobile usage by age and education level in how their devices are – or are not – broadening their horizons. Younger people are more likely to use their phones for nearly all activities asked about, whether those activities are social, information-seeking or commercial. Phone users with higher levels of education are also more likely to do most activities on their phones and to interact with those who are different from them regularly than those with lower levels of education.
- Gender, too, plays a role in what people do with their devices and how they are exposed to different people and information. Men are more likely than women to say they encounter people who are different from them, whether in terms of race, politics, religion or income. And men tend to be more likely to look up information about government services and to obtain political news and information.
These findings are drawn from a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 28,122 adults in 11 countries from Sept. 7 to Dec. 7, 2018. In addition to the survey, the Center conducted focus groups with participants in Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Tunisia in March 2018, and their comments are included throughout the report.
Nokia to be first with Android 10
Nokia is likely to be the first smartphone brand to roll out Android 10, after its manufacturer, HMD Global, announced that the Android 10 software upgrade would start in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Previously named Android Q, it was given the number after Google announced it was ditching sweet and dessert names due to confusion in different languages. Android 10 is due for release at the end of the year.
Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer of HMD Global said: “With a proven track record in delivering software updates fast, Nokia smartphones were the first whole portfolio to benefit from a 2-letter upgrade from Android Nougat to Android Oreo and then Android Pie. We were the fastest manufacturer to upgrade from Android Oreo to Android Pie across the range.
“With today’s roll out plan we look set to do it even faster for Android Pie to Android 10 upgrades. We are the only manufacturer 100% committed to having the latest Android across the entire portfolio.”
HMD Global has given a guarantee that Nokia smartphone owners benefit from two years of OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates.