When it comes to cyber threats, vulnerability is not simply limited to the Internet and devices connected to it like phones or computers. Literally any imaginable device is vulnerable to hacking, a fact exemplified the first week of August at Blackhat USA 2014.
The 17th annual conference of industry experts and the hacker community was held in Las Vegas, from August 2nd through the 7th. The convention featured workshops, presentations and demonstrations on the many digital dangers of the 21stCentury.
The Topic of Conversation
Some topics included cyber threats that are well known to the general public. The vulnerability of network drives, methods of password theft and viruses spread by USB were featured.
Other sessions were more alarming. Among them were demonstrations and discussions regarding the ease of hacking everyday items, like a thermostat or a personal medical device. One demonstration even showed the very real possibility of hacking into transportation systems, specifically an airplane through its own wi-fi. This particular session gained a bit more prescience a few weeks afterward, when a United Airlines flight was grounded due to a bomb threat allegedly from a hacker group.
Does Art Imitate Life?
The practical application of issues brought up by sessions is fundamentally what these types of events are all about. For example, a session discussed cyber warfare and warned of the potential power of a government-backed hacking entity. Such an idea is not too implausible in the aftermath of recent NSA allegations.
Another session described credit card security, and how even with security measures like chip-and-PIN, the information is vulnerable. Recent data thefts such as the one that hit Target were blamed on the US being behind on the latest charge card technology. True enough, but while a new standard will soon go in place, it might be too little, too late, if this session is true.
Since 1999, Jacqueline has written for corporate communications, MarCom agencies, higher education, and worked within the pharmacy, steel and retail industries. Since joining the tech industry, she has found her "home".