Technology is a wonderful thing that has helped our civilization to advance in many important regards. It’s enhanced communications, transportation, medicine and health, agriculture and just about everything else that we currently take for granted. Most of us are aware that there are certain types of data that can damage or even obliterate a hard drive or computer network system. We’ve seen the problem repeated over and over throughout the past few decades, but did you know that there are certain types of data that can cause damage to the entire world? To keep you up to date on this important information, here are the five types of data that could cause the most damage to the world.
1. NotPetya ransomware
This is a potentially deadly type of data that was used in the June 2017 cyber attack on pharmaceutical and logistics companies. The financial losses were catastrophic when this data encrypted the critical systems of the Moller-Maersk logistics company lost an estimated $300 million and the pharmaceutical giant Merck suffered losses of $310 million because their operations were seriously disrupted during the attack. Ransomware has also been used to hold major hospitals hostage and although the loss of millions of dollars from large companies is bad enough, the potential for loss of life is a threat that constantly looms over each of us requiring medical care.
2. The Sobig Worm
This type of data is a cousin of the dreaded Blaster Worn and it has already been used to create Kinetic impacts. This gives it the high potential for shutting down entire transportation systems that are controlled by digital means. It happened in 2003 when the Sobig Worm wreaked havoc in the CSX railway system, shutting down trains in 23 states. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation agency was infected by ransomware which affected 900 of their systems that run subways and buses in the city. How catastrophic could this become? Consider the mayhem that would ensue if millions of travelers could not get from one destination to another? Another scenario involved runaway trains.
3. The Blaster Worm
The Blaster Worm is yet another type of data with the power to cripple transportation systems. The worm crippled Philadelphia’s City Hall along with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Swedish company telco TeliaSonera, and the German auto manufacturer BMW among others. The total estimated damage and loss from the vicious cyber attacks of the Blaster Worm were estimated at $320 million. Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration authority had to shut down their offices because of the Blaster Worm’s damage to their computer systems. It even disabled the intranet of the Navy/Marine corps as well as Air Canada’s check in system.
4. Penetration testers
Automobile security is at risk when the data that is used in the creation of penetration testers is used. This type of data has the ability to take over the control of automobiles relying on digital technology. Experts warn that all of the cars of a certain model have already been controlled with this data and this is far beyond a theoretical threat. It’s a confirmed vulnerability and it’s this type of control that can lead to mass catastrophes on a worldwide scale.
5. Smart meters
Smart meters are used to collect information on various types of consumer usage. This puts the privacy of all individuals at stake. Attackers have easy access to smart devices in the home, crypto-currencies online and electronic and entertainment systems in the home. Studies conducted show that electricity usage profile that provides a two second sample rate allows invasion into a person’s home privacy by relaying their TV watching habits, the content viewed and a lot more information about them.
These are just five of the multiple threats that we’re all facing right now. Sophisticated viruses and worms can infect digital systems causing major transportation providers to malfunction or shut down. Home privacy is compromised through smart meters that relay private information back to prying eyes Technology exists to control an entire model of vehicles. With the increase in digital dependence for nearly every aspect of the operation of our society and even our automobiles and our homes, the threat is real and we’re all vulnerable to these five types of harmful data.