Cyber Security

MS-ISAC Chairman Pelgrin: Emerging tech risks could outweigh benefits

William F. Pelgrin

William F. Pelgrin

William F. Pelgrin, the chairman of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, recently said that while interconnectivity through emerging technologies may be beneficial, “the risk could outweigh the benefit if the devices, systems and technologies are not properly secured.”

Pelgrin pointed towards the rising popularity of the Internet of Things, in which an end-user device, such as an automobile’s computer systems or Bluetooth, connects and uploads data to the internet without the need for human intervention.

“Internet-connected devices that are able to process sensitive personal information tend to be high priority targets for cyber criminals,” Pelgrin said. “It will become increasingly critical in 2014 to protect these devices from unintended or unauthorized connectivity.”

Bitcoin has emerged as another form of technology that, according to Pelgrin, requires consideration of its risks.

Bitcoin is a digital currency stored in a downloadable wallet or with an online wallet service provider. Each wallet has a unique identifier that allows Bitcoin users to transfer the currency to other users.

“While the long-term use of Bitcoin is uncertain, for at least the near term in 2014, the increasing adoption and publicity will continue to draw the interest of cyber criminals who target Bitcoin users’ wallets for theft, or compromise systems to generate Bitcoins via malware infection,” Pelgrin said.

New technologies like NFC, as well as AirDrop and Passbook for Apple, will continue to expand into the new year, according to Pelgrin, increasing the risk for cybercriminals to exploit weaknesses.

“Risks of these technologies could include eavesdropping (through which the cybercriminal can intercept data transmission such as credit card numbers) and transferring viruses or other malware from one NFC/AirDrop-enabled device to another,” Pelgrin said. “Before adopting any of the myriad new technologies that are rapidly being deployed, it’s important to understand the implications and risks.”

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