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 »

U.S. launches airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria
The U.S. and five Arab countries launched airstrikes Monday night on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group targets in Syria, expanding a military campaign into a country whose three-year civil war has given the brutal militant group a safe haven.
Updated Israel says it has killed 2 men suspected of kidnap, murder of Israeli teens
An Israeli army spokesman says two Palestinians suspected in the fatal abduction of three Israeli teens in June have been killed in a shootout with Israeli forces.
New Doug Ulman to step down as CEO of cancer charity started by Lance Armstrong
The CEO of the cancer charity Livestrong is leaving after 14 years, a period in which the small local charity grew into a $500 million US global brand before it was rocked by founder Lance Armstrong's confession that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career.
more »

Canada »

Updated Brian Gallant's Liberals elected amid vote-counting 'fiasco'
Liberal Leader Brian Gallant appears to have won the New Brunswick election amid a vote-counting "fiasco."
New Brunswick election tally suffers glitches as Tories demand hand count video
Troubles with the automated system of tallying results in the New Brunswick election brought the counting of votes to a standstill Monday night with the outcome hanging in the balance.
Royal Alex Ebola scare response troubling, Edmonton woman says
An Edmonton woman says she is deeply concerned with how the Royal Alexandra Hospital dealt with what was originally suspected to be an Ebola case. She says others waiting in the ER were put in close contact with the patient and were told to go home before the contagious disease was ruled out.
more »

Politics »

Updated Brian Gallant's Liberals elected amid vote-counting 'fiasco'
Liberal Leader Brian Gallant appears to have won the New Brunswick election amid a vote-counting "fiasco."
Revoking ISIS passports: Government refuses to disclose numbers video
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander may be keen to trumpet his government's move to revoke passports from ISIS recruits, but his officials are equally tight-lipped when it comes to providing raw numbers to back up his bravado.
MP Charmaine Borg withdraws crowdfunding reward offers after backlash
A New Democrat MP's attempt at crowdfunding is getting a big thumbs-down after she offered to mention donors' names in the House of Commons.
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»

New Polaris Music Prize 2014: Tanya Tagaq wins $30K as jury's pick
Nunavut-raised Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq has won the $30,000 Polaris Music Prize.
Joseph Plaskett, Canadian painter, dead at 96
Joseph Plaskett, celebrated Canadian painter, died in his home Sunday at the age of 96.
Legally blind Stevie Wonder fan seeks accessible seat for Toronto show video
A legally blind Toronto resident has been trying for days to get a seat for an upcoming Stevie Wonder show that will allow her to see her favourite singer.
more »

Technology & Science »

Canada's DND signs space data pact with U.S., U.K., Australian military
Canada's military will share space-related information and resources with the defence departments of the U.S., the U.K. and Australia under an agreement signed today.
Vancouver Aquarium uses hexacopter drone to monitor whale pods video
The Vancouver Aquarium has used a drone to study killer whales from above for the first time. The images it captured have allowed biologists to detect pregnancies and measure the girth of the whales.
Audio New mushroom species discovered in London grocery store audio
Scientists have discovered three new species in an unexpected place — a package of mushrooms purchased at a grocery store in London. CBC's Torah Kachur reports.
more »

Money »

Canadian wireless costs among highest in world, PC Mag finds video
Six years after the federal government began attempting to create a fourth national wireless carrier in Canada, the big three telcos are still almost identical on wireless prices and remain among the most expensive in the world.
NHL's return will boost Canada's economy, Moody's says video
NHL training camps open across North America this week, but no matter who makes that last round of cuts, the Canadian economy is poised to be a winner, a major ratings agency says.
Canada missing out on green energy revolution, report says video audio
At a time when investment in clean energy technologies is growing worldwide, Canada is “looking the other way” and risks missing out on trade and growth opportunities, according to a new report from an advocacy group for renewable energy.
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]
Recap Blue Jays rout Mariners, keep playoff hopes alive video
J.A. Happ pitched seven innings, Danny Valencia drove in three runs with a triple and Jose Bautista, Kevin Pillar and Anthony Gose homered as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Seattle Mariners 14-4 on Monday.
Analysis Winnipeg Jets: 2014-15 NHL season preview
The fan support is outstanding, but Winnipeggers may run out of patience if Evander Kane and company can't deliver a playoff berth in Year 4 of the Jets' reincarnation.
Winning Proposal Seahawks' DeShawn Shead asks girlfriend for hand in marriage video
After Seattle's overtime victory over the Denver Bronces on Sunday, Seahawks cornerback DeShawn Shead proposed to his girlfriend Jessica Martinez on the field. She said yes.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »