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Trust is biggest victim of IoT cyber attacks

Trend Micro Incorporated recently released survey findings that show businesses are most concerned about losing customer trust in the event of an Internet of Things (IoT) related cyber attack, however they remain unprepared.

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The survey, which was issued to 1,150 IT and security decision makers across the globe,indicates major discrepancy between the investment in IoT systems and security to protect them.

As the growing number of connected devices opens businesses up to additional cyber threats, close to half (43%) of IT decision makers and security decision makers say that security is an afterthought when implementing IoT projects (peaking at 46% in Germany). In addition, while nearly two-thirds (63%) agree that IoT-related cybersecurity threats have increased over the past 12 months (rising to 71% in the UK and the US), only about half (53%) think connected devices are a threat to their own organisation (75% in Japan).

Additionally, the results suggest there could be minimal testing taking place ahead of implementation to ensure new devices added to corporate environments are secured. The survey also showed businesses are experiencing an average of three attacks on connected devices in the last 12 months. Thirty-eight percent of those that have already implemented, or plan to implement, an IoT solution enlist security decision-makers in the implementation process. This falls to one in three for smart factory implementation (32%), with a similar proportion enlisting the help of security teams for the roll out of smart utility (31%) and wearables (30%) projects. This suggests that a significant proportion of businesses globally could be unwittingly opening themselves up to a range of threats.

“IoT systems are the future for businesses and many new types of connected devices are being introduced to corporate networks,” said Kevin Simzer, chief operating officer, Trend Micro. “While this is beneficial for business operations, the embedded operating systems of IoT devices aren’t designed for easy patching, which creates a universal cyber risk problem. The investment in security measures should mirror the investment in system upgrades to best mitigate the risk of a breach that would have a major impact on both the bottom line and customer trust.”

Security, responsibility, reputation, and business impact

According to businesses, the top consequences as a result of a breach include loss of customer trust (52%) closely followed by monetary loss (49%). Despite the recent introduction of GDPR making it top of mind for many, the following consequences were ranked significantly lower. Some of the areas businesses think an IoT breach would impact are:

  • Customer trust (52%)
  • Monetary loss (49%)
  • Loss of personally identifiable information (32%)
  • Being fined by regulators (31%)
  • Breaking data security regulations (28%)

With breaches having the potential for a significant impact on business operations – such as jeopardising GDPR compliance or taking critical networks offline – the research confirms that cybersecurity cannot be an afterthought and it must be key to the IoT implementation process from the outset.

Simzer at Trend Micro continued: “The significant investment in this technology across the globe is testament to the fact that IoT solutions can bring many advantages to businesses. But if security is not baked into the design of IoT solutions, and SDMs aren’t involved in the IoT implementation process, businesses could face damages far greater than the benefits this connected tech delivers.”

The findings show significant investment is going toward IoT systems, with businesses spending over $2.5 million on average each year. Given the substantial financial investment, and the significant impact to organisations that could come from a cyber attack against these systems, security must be equally prioritized to mitigate this risk.

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Meet the ambassador to the future

Tilly Lockey, 14, lost her hands as a toddler, but sees it as a massive opportunity to embrace technology. She chatted with ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK about the human of tomorrow.

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Picture by Arthur Goldstuck

It is a description that defines 14-year-old Tilly Lockey: She lost her hands at the age of 15 months, and now uses bionic hands to show the world how to overcome disability.

That could easily read as an advertisement for a prosthetics company, but Tilly refuses to be defined by marketing messages. She has not only embraced what is supposed to be a disability, but wants to become nothing less than an ambassador to the future.

Picture by Arthur Goldstuck

That is in effect what she is achieving by pushing the boundaries of what is possible with artificial hands. It means that, eventually, she will have more capabilities built into her body than most able-bodied humans can imagine. She collaborates closely with Open Bionics, a start-up that is using 3D printing to create low-cost prosthetics with high-tech capabilities.

“I have very high hopes for the future,” she said during a chat on the sidelines of the SingularityU Summit at Kyalami north of Johannesburg. From Newcastle-on-Tyne in the United Kingdom, she was at the Summit as a guest speaker, chaperoned by her father Adam and sister Tia. 

“When I started working with Open Bionics, I wanted it to include lighting, music, Bluetooth, a projector in my palm, all over-optimistic things. But then I feel that is not too far away, and then a disability would turn into and enhancement of normal human hands. I’m really excited about it.

“I know there’s a couple of things they are working on right now, like trying to get the built-in battery thinner, because it’s hard to get overcoats and jackets over it, so they are trying to get the hands slimmer. They’re working on haptic feedback, to give a sense of touch of vibration, which tells me of I have a good grip on something. It could be coming soon. These hands I’m using now were made in the past five years. In another five years, I think we’ll have all of it.”

The hands in question are called Hero Arms, which its creators, Open Bionics, say is “the world’s first clinically approved 3D-printed bionic arm, with multi-grip functionality and empowering aesthetics”.

Click here to read more about the development of Open Bionics’s Hero Arms.

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How Tilly Lockey became a Hero

Part 2 of ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK’s interview with Tilly Lockey explores her amazing career.

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Picture courtesy SingularityU South Africa 2019 Summit

This is the second part of this series of articles. To start from the beginning, click here.

Tilly Lockey was diagnosed with Meningococcal Septicaemia Strain B when she was 15 months old.

Her mother spotted the tell-tale signs one day in 2007: a fast-spreading skin rash that looks like pinpricks, along with symptoms like lethargy and bruising. She was rushed to hospital, but the bacterial poisoning spread so aggressively, doctors gave Tilley no chance of survival. They had to make a quick decision to amputate her hands to save her life.

Twelve years later, her future truly came into focus: “I was surprised with really cool Alita: Battle Angel bionic Hero Arms and went on the blue carpet at the world premiere of the movie with Rosa Salazar and director James Cameron.”

That pivotal moment in her life would not have been possible without the intensive efforts of her mother, Sara, to raise funds to buy something better than the metal prosthetics issued by the National Health Service in the UK. She increased Tilley’s profile with a campaign to “Give Tilley a Hand”, and today works as a fundraiser and events organiser for the Meningitis Now support group. Her involvement in an event meant she was unable to join Tilley on her trip to South Africa last week, when she spoke at the SingularityU Summit. After coming off stage, Tilley told us that Sara was her biggest inspiration in her life, and the closest to a role model.

“I’m usually a speaker at her events. I tell everyone my story and what I’m doing now and give these kids inspiration, because they often feel they can’t do anything because of what Meningitis did to them.

“I am home schooled now, which is pretty cool, because I’m able to have a career and get educated at the same time. I feel I can do a lot of things that friends can’t do. I can take a whole class on an aeroplane. I have a great time traveling and meeting so many inspiring people who are making a difference in the world.”

The form of Mengingitis that attacked her leaves hidden scars and issues that only become apparent years later. She is almost absurdly cheerful about the challenges that have faced her.

“I personally figured out that my left leg had stopped growing. I’m still finding out things it has caused, but you survive. At least I’m here and I’m alive.”

It does help that she’s comfortable in the spotlight, happy to give interviews, and eager to show what she can do with her bionic hands.

“I want to go into public speaking a lot more, and it could be an option as career. I want it to continue because it’s a lot of fun, and I feel I’ve got a story to share. If I can inspire people to change the world, I will. “

Her travels this year will still take her to Barcelona, Jakarta and New York. In the Big Apple, she will accept a humanitarian award, and intends “to give a funky speech”.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, she will take part in a fashion catwalk and do a makeup tutorial live. She learned to do makeup with one of her bionic hands when she fractured her right elbow in a fall at school

“I got makeup for Christmas and wanted to play with it, and got the idea of doing it with an open hand. It took a lot of perseverance and patience, but after studying how to do it, I was able to recreate a full makeup routine using one hand. It wasn’t a great situation at the time, but now I’m happy it happened because it got me into doing what I do now.”

What she is doing with makeup is remarkable in its own right. She gives tutorials on YouTube, where she says she is “kinda new”, as she has “only around 16,000 followers”. That may well soon expand into cooking videos.

In other words, everything is an opportunity: “I could be sad, just sit on my bed and cry, or I can live my life and realise what I’ve got: these amazing bionic Hero Arms.

“All I want to do is help give people confidence in themselves, accept who they are, accept their scars and everything about them. That they don’t have to impress everybody and just be themselves.”

Read more in the third article of the series about how family remains at the centre of Tilly’s life.

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