Power equipment: A new cybersecurity frontier
Power management may not be at the top of anyone’s priority list when they think about cybersecurity. But to quote the famous words of Bob Dylan: “The times, they are a-changin’.” As Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices have evolved and many business functions have shifted to remote operations, vulnerabilities are emerging in places that may have once seemed like something out of Hollywood fiction.
As digital transformation continues to advance amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, businesses must evaluate their security model to ensure they’re prepared for the next normal. Power equipment must be part of the equation in an end-to-end cybersecurity strategy.
Hackers Make Surprising Moves
While IoT has been the catalyst for many positive developments, there are challenges with these expanding interconnections. For power management, the ability to connect backup equipment like an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can prove helpful in enabling IT teams to monitor and maintain essential infrastructure more efficiently. However, like any other network-connected devices, they become assets that need to be secured from potential cyber breaches.
Though UPS doesn’t traditionally come to mind when envisioning ways cybercriminals infiltrate a network, the same could also be said for other inconspicuous devices like HVAC units. Yet, that’s exactly what hackers pursued when they were able to gain access to Target’s system and steal data on over 40 million credit and debit cards.
And consider how hackers were able to penetrate the network of a North American casino utilizing an Internet-connected thermometer inside an aquarium. Finding the vulnerability in a fish tank, of all places, allowed hackers to access the casino’s database and ultimately steal private customer data. And, while the premise may sound like something from an Ocean’s Eleven movie sequel, it’s not the first time an unsecure thermostat has caused a frenzy.
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