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 »

302 Found

Found

The document has moved here.

more »

Canada »

302 Found

Found

The document has moved here.

more »

Politics »

302 Found

Found

The document has moved here.

more »

Health »

302 Found

Found

The document has moved here.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

302 Found

Found

The document has moved here.

more »

Technology & Science »

302 Found

Found

The document has moved here.

more »

Money »

302 Found

Found

The document has moved here.

more »

Consumer Life »

302 Found

Found

The document has moved here.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive] 302 Found

Found

The document has moved here.

more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »