Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Smarter, greener technology begets high-tech risks

By Emily Chung, CBCNews.ca

Computers and computer networking can bring powerful new features to existing infrastructure and technologies.

But sometimes it's easy to forget that making technologies "smarter" can also leave them vulnerable to new, high-tech risks and threats like viruses, hackers or cyber terrorists.

Take the concept of smart grids, for example – adding computerization to the power grid can promote greener, more efficient use of power and prevent outages caused by overloading.

In such systems, already in use in some parts of North America, computers monitor and respond automatically to changes in the demand for electricity by balancing the load on the grid and the pricing of the electricity. The two-way communication built into the system also allows "smart" appliances to respond to changes in pricing. Ultimately, proponents hope such systems will help support the growth of other greener technologies like electric cars and cogeneration, where heat and electricity are produced and distributed simultaneously.

But it's not all rosy and green. On Monday, the Seattle-based technology security company IOActive announced that it had "verified significant security issues within multiple smart grid platforms."

Those vulnerabilities "could further expose the country to attacks on our critical power infrastructure" by letting unauthorized users gain control of the system, leaving utility companies vulnerable to "possible fraud, extortion attempts, lawsuits or widespread system interruption," said a company release.

This isn't a problem that's unique to the transition from regular power grids to smart grids. Similar security issues have arisen during the switch from:


Another example is with the rise of cloud computing, in which information and technology services reside (and are ultimately accessible) on a computer network.

It's worth noting that the security risks didn't hinder the widespread adoption of any of the above technologies, even though those risks persist to some extent.

Nevertheless, IOActive's report is a good reminder that while technology promises powerful new tools, those inevitably come with new risks and problems that we need to think about and deal with before embracing the new technology's benefits.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

Trump's son-in-law says he didn't collude with Russians and has no Russian financing
Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a senior White House adviser made rare public comments on Monday, asserting he "did not collude" with Russia and had roughly four meetings with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign and presidential transition.
Parents of critically ill infant Charlie Gard end legal battle to save his life video
Chris Gard publicly apologized to his critically ill baby Charlie for not being able to save his life, as he and his wife dropped their legal bid Monday to send him to the United States for an experimental treatment after new medical tests showed the window of opportunity to help him had closed.
U.S. Army medic has no regrets about saving Omar Khadr's life
Former U.S. Army medic Donnie Bumanglag, in a series of Canadian Press interviews and in a podcast he co-hosts, said he doesn't regret saving Omar Khadr's life in 2002.
more »

Canada »

Senator Murray Sinclair, chair of TRC, named as Thunder Bay police board investigator
The Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) announced Monday that it has appointed retired judge and current Senator, the Honourable Murray Sinclair as the independent investigator addressing the commission's concerns over the civilian police oversight and public confidence in the delivery of police services in Thunder Bay.
Man tied to $1K reward for recordings of Muslim students praying now faces hate crime charge
Peel Regional Police have charged a Mississauga, Ont., man, who earlier this year posted a YouTube video offering a $1,000 reward for recordings of Muslim students during prayer, with promoting hatred against an identifiable group in connection with "numerous incidents reported to police."
Canada trails G7 in protecting land, parks advocates say
Canada lags behind most of the world in setting aside protected spaces, says the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.
more »

Politics »

Canadian defence deal with Azerbaijan raises new questions about arms export controls
A deal by a Canadian company to export armoured personnel carriers to Azerbaijan and set up a joint production of these military-style vehicles in the oil-rich former Soviet republic, is once again raising questions about the efficacy of Canada’s defence export controls.
Pot charges drop in 2016, Statistics Canada reports
The number of cannabis-related offences reported to police and the number of pot possession charges were down again last year.
Live Officials sign health charter LIVE video
Health Minister Jane Philpott, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins sign the charter of relationship principles governing health system transformation in Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Video 'Mother Nature's joined the debate:' Al Gore returns with An Inconvenient Sequel video
Torrential downpours, unbridled wildfires, storm surges — dangerous, extreme weather events becoming commonplace are a wake-up call from Mother Nature, says Al Gore, who's back with the new documentary An Inconvenient Sequel.
'Dear Chester, our hearts are broken:' Linkin Park posts message after singer's death
Chester Bennington's Linkin Park bandmates have issued their first official statement since the frontman's death last week.
Something was fishy about the Phelps vs. shark showdown
Michael Phelps's long-awaited showdown with a great white shark turned out to be different than what many viewers expected.
more »

Technology & Science »

3D-printed 'Third Thumb' a handy extra digit with Bluetooth connection
A product design student in the U.K. has come up with a 3D-printed thumb, worn next to the pinkie finger and controlled by sensors in the shoe, to extend the user's natural abilities.
The secret life of Alexandre Cazes, alleged dark web mastermind
How a 25-year-old from Trois-Rivieres, Que., became the mastermind behind the largest dark web marketplace in the world.
#BoycottSearsCanada: Retailer faces 'PR nightmare' over treatment of laid-off workers
Sears Canada is trying to reinvent itself and entice customers. But every time it posts ads on Facebook, the retailer is bombarded with comments expressing anger the company is laying off workers without severance.
more »

Money »

Canadian dollar tops 80 cents US for 1st time in 2 years
The Canadian dollar has climbed above 80 cents US for the first time since the summer of 2015.
Updated IMF says Canadian economy poised to grow 2.5% this year, best in G7
The International Monetary Fund expects Canada to lead the G7 for economic growth this year.
Sweetened bid for Tembec wins support from shareholders who opposed deal
Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. has raised its takeover offer for Tembec Inc. to win the support of two of the forestry company's largest shareholders who had threatened to block the friendly deal.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Monika Eggens' 5 goals pushes Canada into water polo semifinals
Canada's Monika Eggens broke the spirit of the hometown Hungarian squad, scoring five goals in the women's water polo quarter-final match at the aquatics world championships on Monday.
Live Watch Canada's women's water polo team in the quarter-finals at worlds video
Watch live water polo action from the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, as Canada takes on Hungary in the women's quarter-finals.
NHL free agency tracker
Get up to speed on the latest key signings from the NHL's 2017 off-season.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »