Figures published in 2016 reported that around 1 in 10 people in England and Wales were victims of cybercrime within the previous year. Only last year almost half of the 10.8 million criminal acts recorded by the ONS Crime Survey for England and Wales were fraud or computer misuse with 1.9 million of these being cyber-related.
We are more savvy these days, we understand that we are more likely to have a crime committed against us online than we are out on the street. We know that our everyday lives, both professionally and personally are becoming more and more reliant on physical products and devices embedded with electronic components - which connect to the internet.
A few weeks ago it was reported that a serious flaw had been discovered in computer chips potentially giving other cyber criminals a virtual back door into computers everywhere. Once in, they can easily copy passwords and other cached information such as account details with obvious devastating results. But there are plenty of other risks.
We can all remember the WannaCry worldwide breach that affected a staggering 300,000 computers across the National Health Service, temporarily crippling hospitals across the UK. This really brought it home that cybercrime is a global threat and confirmed that anyone and everyone is a potential target.
As more and more everyday items add to the ‘Internet of Things – physical products and devices embedded with electronic components enabling them to connect to the internet; we need to be far more wary of our growing reliance and trust we place on such items.
Whilst we should all recognise that the Internet of Things is a brave new world of technological wonder and commercial possibility, we should always protect ourselves on-line. We routinely lock our doors behind us, keep our personal belongings close and protect ourselves from physical harm. Now with our evolving world of technology, it is just as important to put the same emphasis on our cyber-security! The danger and pitfalls of a ‘cyber-attack’ can have dire consequences, for the unwary.
Here at Hillside Product Design we urge all manufacturers to include cyber security as part of their product risk assessment reviews.
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