Good Research Paper About Common Cyber Security Threats

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Internet, Technology, Business, Services, People, Sociology, Security, Engineering

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/12/25

[Class Title]

Internet of Things and its Effect on Safety of Critical Infrastructures

Introduction
Since the internet has been made public, its social, political, economic and technological utilization has been swift. Today, almost all aspects of human interaction and activities are somehow related to internet technology. Scholars refer to this intensive reliance of human systems and infrastructures as the ‘internet of things.’ According to researchers, the term was first coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999 and used in the context of supply chain management. However, the term seems to perfectly characterize the growing applicability of internet in the modern world. There is no doubt that a lot of positive outcomes have been brought by the advent of the internet technology. The internet technology, for example, characterizes the easy access to information; allowed human to human, human to machine remote interaction; provide healthcare solutions; provide government and private support services and provided new business opportunities and strategies among many of its functions. Indeed, the internet age have brought significant changes to society as a whole. However, while there are numerous advantages brought about by internet technology, society’s deep reliance to this technology could raise concerns especially in terms of public safety. Today, almost all of a nation’s critical infrastructures are run by computers that are networked and can be remotely accessed. Telecommunication systems, power grids and distribution systems, transport systems and even a nation’s military installation and defense systems are all interconnected in the internet framework. While the internet technology has made running these critical infrastructures and systems much easier, it has also posed a vulnerability that malicious elements can exploit. Society’s notion of safety is thereby affected by this medium, which is a strong proof of how internet influences how people think and act.

Influence of Internet over Critical Services and Infrastructures

In his book, ‘The Shallows,’ Nicholas Carr expressed his concern that the technology that provides services would be of lesser concern than the technology that supports it. Referring to media services in particular, Carr observed that the internet technology that supports media services can be influential in such a way that “hey supply the stuff of thought” as well as “shape the process of thought”. Carr’s concern about internet technology affecting the way people think and act can be directly associated with security concerns regarding critical services and infrastructures. Because of the importance of these services to the nation’s well-being, any untoward incident that may cause it to fail is of utmost importance. According to the Department of Homeland Security, a nation’s critical infrastructure serves as the backbone of economy, security and health. Critical infrastructures include energy resources, water resources, and transportation and communication systems. These infrastructures are assets that maybe physical or virtual in nature yet they are interconnected with each other that an incapacitation in any of these services would lead to detrimental impacts on other critical infrastructures. People enjoy the conveniences brought by modern technology but what most people do not realize is that underlying these technologies and infrastructures is the internet that runs or influences it clandestinely. As observed by Carr, “in the long run a medium’s content matters less than the medium itself in influencing how we think and act”.

Increased Dependence to Internet Technology is Unavoidable

Modern scholars refer to the interconnectivity of almost anything to the internet as ‘the internet of things.’ Accordingly, the term refers to “the general idea of things, especially everyday objects, which are readable, recognizable, locatable, addressable, and/or controllable via the internet”. As observed, this phenomenon seems to apply in any social systems and infrastructures. Evidently, the increased dependence on internet has caused society to become vulnerable since almost all critical services and infrastructures are run using this medium. Despite the vulnerability issue, Geer argued that dependence on the internet is hardly an option. Some may opt out using the internet but as long as he is reliant to things that use the internet, he is, in some way, connected to it. Accordingly, “If, however, you are dependent on those who are dependent on the Internet, then so are you”. Carr was also keen to observe how his tasks are being increasingly dependent on what he can do with the technology associated with the internet. As he observed, a computer is not only a simple tool but rather a machine that exerts an enormous influence over its user. Evidently, people often use internet related services to work and collaborate with peers. This function of the internet and its related technologies are easily observable in services such as healthcare, telecommunications and business support. But the convenience brought about by the advancement in internet technology is not without risks. As observed by LaMonica, technical people are getting more concerned that control systems of critical infrastructures could be compromised as they are increasingly linked to the web. According to Baumhof, a chief technology officer, “The increasing connectivity of the world poses a growing cyber security threat that we are not securing well. For consumer technologies, personal privacy is often at risk. The public safety risks are higher for critical infrastructures” (Baumhof as cited in Rampe, 2014). Imagine if traffic systems can be remotely accessed and some malicious users redirects traffic so that vehicles will collide against each other. Also imagine if some countries with nuclear capacity, whose launch codes and systems can be remotely accessed, were hacked. While these scenarios have not been known to occur internet history, there is a big possibility that with the increased reliance of infrastructures and systems to internet technology, such scenarios could occur. Concerns by experts implies that these threats are real and the ‘internet of things’ does create security issues that can threaten the public.

There are numerous ways on how critical systems and infrastructures can be compromised using the internet. Among the most common cyber threats that can be used to sabotage major infrastructure systems are social engineering and malwares. Social engineering has been defined as the “process of deceiving people into giving away access or confidential information”. Most often, people who are in-charge of the system are prone to errors making them one of the most vulnerable aspect of any critical system or infrastructure. For scholars, people are the weakest link of the information security systems. Social engineering is a psychological attack and its uses the weakness of a person in order to obtain confidential information. People, for example, are generally polite and helpful when online. Social engineers would use this quality by posing as employees or perhaps bosses in order to obtain information from unsuspecting users. Another common social engineering activity is lure people to click on something by posting something interesting towards their target. Once the target has been lured into this trap, these people proceed to infiltrate the system discreetly. Luring strategies may include piggybacked softwares (free softwares that users need to install in order access luring services), spam mail and even fake anti-virus or spywares. Aside from social engineering, malwares are one of the most common cyber security threats today. Malwares are programs designed to infiltrate a system. Most often, these programs automatically installs itself on an unsuspecting system especially if the system has no adequate protection. Interestingly, as security systems become more aggressive, malware programs are also getting sophisticated that most often, the security program could not detect its presence. Knowing these threats and the possible effects it will cause on critical services and infrastructures, the apprehension of some experts who view the internet technology that support these services with caution is somehow justified. Awareness of these cyber threats can obviously change a person’s perception, behavior and actions in using these critical services and the technology associated with it.

Conclusion

People enjoy the benefits of modern services and infrastructures yet few realize that underneath these critical services is a system run by the internet. In one way or another, the internet platform that supports these infrastructures affects how society should think and act most especially when it comes to securing these critical technologies from cyber threats. As observed, almost all human activities, interaction, systems and physical infrastructures have been infiltrated by the internet technology. Unfortunately, while the internet of things can provide advantages, it also pose risks as it makes legitimate institutions especially critical infrastructures vulnerable to cyber threats. While some people would argue that it is better off to avoid connecting things to the internet especially critical infrastructures, there is no denying that it is easier said than done knowing the conveniences and practicality that internet can offer. There is no option but to embrace internet technology yet it should be used with caution. Perhaps the best response to the phenomenon of the ‘internet of things’ is to enjoy its benefits but be aware of its threats so that it can be mitigated and addressed.

Works Cited

Carr, N. THE SHALLOWS: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. New York: W. W. NORTON & COMPANY, 2010.
Geer, D. Resolved: the Internet Is No Place for Critical Infrastructure. 2013. March 2015 <http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=2479677>.
Gubbi, J., Buyya, R., Marusic, S., & Palaniswami, M. Internet of Things (IoT): A vision, architectural elements, and future directions. 2013. March 2015 <http://www.buyya.com/papers/Internet-of-Things-Vision-Future2013.pdf>.
Hasan, M., Prajapati, N., & Vohara, S. CASE STUDY ON SOCIAL ENGINEERING TECHNIQUES FOR PERSUASION . 2010. March 2015 <http://airccse.org/journal/graphhoc/papers/0610jgraph2.pdf>.
Huber, M., Kowalski, S., Nohlberg, M., & Tjoa, S. Towards Automating Social Engineering Using Social Networking Sites. n.d. March 2015 <https://www.sba-research.org/wp-content/uploads/publications/2009%20-%20Huber%20-%20Towards%20Automating%20Social%20Engineering%20Using%20Social%20Networking%20Sites.pdf>.
LaMonica, M. Cybersecurity Risk High in Industrial Control Systems. 2013. March 2015 <http://www.technologyreview.com/view/511671/cybersecurity-risk-high-in-industrial-control-systems/>.
Rampe, D. Internet of Things – A Consumer Dream or Cybersecurity Nightmare? 2014. March 2015 <http://www.threatmetrix.com/tag/critical-infrastructure-and-the-internet-of-things/>.
Strategic Foresight Initiative. "Technological Development and Dependency." May 2011. http://www.fema.gov/. March 2015 <http://www.fema.gov/pdf/about/programs/oppa/technology_dev_%20paper.pdf>.

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