Why Cyber Security risks should be on the Sustainability radar
Imagine, that hackers break into your building’s management system. The air-conditioning goes haywire and the heating cranks up to an unbearable level. The lights and power switch off, causing chaos and confusion. Work grinds to a halt. Worse, people’s safety is compromised as lifts, security and fire systems cease to operate.
If the cybersecurity breach affects transactions on a busy trading floor, the financial implications are obvious. But in some cases, a cybersecurity event could be as significant as a natural disaster.
Consider the ransomware infection which crippled the UK’s National Health Service in 2017. Staff around the country were forced to revert to pen and paper and their own phones as computer and telephone networks shut down. Patients were turned away and people in affected areas were being advised to seek medical care only in emergencies. Thankfully, no lives were lost, but the story could have been a very different one.
According to the IoT Alliance Australia, the world will have more than 1 trillion Internet of Things (IoT) devices up and running by 2035. These devices are soon to be pervasive and their application endless – from wearables that track our heart rate to connected cars, and from sensors that monitor pollution, parking, traffic congestion and rubbish in our cities to smart fridges that know when it’s time to restock.
In the last few years, low cost IoT sensors, switches and gateways have transformed the smart building market. Smart building technology now automates, monitors and optimises heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, power and security systems and more. These buildings use less energy, are easier to manage and more comfortable in which to live and work. And this means smart buildings are increasingly sustainable buildings.
But as all these devices connect to the internet, the rise in IoT hacking becomes an alarming proposition. Symantec recorded a 600 per cent increase in IoT attacks in 2017, and Gartner estimates that worldwide spending on IoT security will reach US$1.5 billion by the end of 2018.