Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Data: Connected or Confidential

26 January 2018

It might be a great idea to keep connected to the internet so you can keep an eye on your assets - even the human ones - but constant connectivity may open you and your business up to exactly the opposite.

A doll that answers questions and a tattoo that monitors, reports and manages your health. You won’t have to wait until 2048 to experience these dystopias. This is real technology that’s available now, and ripe for exploitation.

We’ve all heard the stories about pulling the string on talking dolls that say more than “be my mommy”. As technology has advanced, and strings in theory have become obsolete, dolls have all sorts of microchips inside them, that let them increase their repertoire. They’re even remotely upgradable.

Unfortunately, all it takes is a mischievous programmer, known in the business as a hacker, and Barbie turns into Chuckie with a vocabulary and grasp of Anglo-Saxon vernacular that wouldn’t sound out of place in an Action Man combat scenario.

Dolls aren’t supposed to be communicating with nefarious individuals with questionable parenting skills. If their internet security is however not up to a cabbage patch, they do talk to strangers, and that’s a whole minefield of problems.

The same holds true for anything else you play with that’s connected to the internet at large. Like phones, laptops, GPS devices for tracking your vehicles, and smart watches for tracking your personnel.

Which brings us to tattoos.

Put internet connectivity together with the miracle of graphene, and you have a tattoo, temporary or otherwise, that can relay biometric information in real time, potentially providing a step change in healthcare. Hi-tech tats around the office could also mean no need for any pesky authorisations or smart cards. For anything from photocopying to car parking, a nano-thin encoding on your arm (or wherever) will do the job. Just wave your anatomy at the forecourt barrier and your eco-friendly hybrid is already driving itself autonomously to your designated parking spot. You can wave tattoo-bye to the office keys too - same rules apply.

Let’s say though, your good intentions are not backed up by the sort of security that you might afford to your desktop computers or the executive loo. A swipe from a suitably savvy street urchin, and it’s your corporate secrets that are going down the toilet.

More and more devices in our every day business (and our toybox) are becoming ‘connected’. The Internet of Things is a reality. From heating that knows when you’re working late to water coolers that order their own refills, there’s internet connectivity behind all sorts of monitoring applications.

With the rush to use the internet for business efficiency, is there a danger of neglecting necessary security? After all, if you’re monitoring your office day and night, who else might be doing just the same thing?

About the Springfords blog

springfords blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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