Know Your IT Vulnerabilities

cyber
It’s not just your office desktop computer- the printer, the ventilation fan, and even your office phone can be at risk of a cyber-attack.

The culprits are embedded computers or microprocessors found in general office equipment that can be exploited just like any computer, according to Ang Cui, Founder and CEO of cybersecurity company Red Balloon.

“This is probably the most important cybersecurity threat that we have today because these computers control every single aspect of our critical infrastructure that we depend on every single day,” Cui told CNBC in an interview.

An embedded PC is essentially any specialized computer system that is implemented as part of a larger device, intelligent system or installation. Embedded computers come in an endless array of shapes and sizes and can range from the tiny ARM-based devices that power today’s smartphones, to all-in-one solutions that run huge earthmovers and military equipment.

Cui says the cyber-security problem related to embedded PC’s is only going to become worse, as more embedded devices are produced.

The embedded systems market is projected to reach a whopping $214.3 billion by 2020, due to rising demand from end-use industries such as automotive and healthcare and the boom in the internet of things devices, according to a new research report by Radiant Insights Inc.

As the commercial real estate industry adopts IoT technologies and more smart buildings emerge the risks from inherently embedded computers found in devices and sensors is rising exponentially.

Commercial real estate executives are increasingly concerned about cyber-security threats, according to Seyfarth’s fourth annual Real Estate Market Sentiment Survey.

The survey which polled commercial real estate executives around the country from all sectors found that 69% of respondents are concerned about a cyberattack hitting their business in 2019, a nearly 30% increase compared to last year.

The reason for rising cyber-concerns among executives stems from the fact that commercial real estate companies are stepping up their tech game through the use of technologies such as cloud, mobile, and third-party applications to drive tenant engagement and operational efficiency. CRE owners are also implementing more sophisticated technology solutions for building management.

And as more companies adopt and build ecosystems of devices that connect tenants and third-party vendors through integrated building management and communication technologies the risks for cyber hacks is surging.

Remote locks, hacked key-card pads, compromised HVACs, thermometers, and elevator systems – are just some of the ways that a building’s management team may have to confront the kinds of cyberattacks that were previously non-existent.

In response to the increased risk of cyber threats, building management teams will have to heighten their awareness of virtual dangers that can compromise the safety and security of the building and its occupants.

In today’s digitally connected environment, any vendor or occupant can be a potential source of an intrusion. This is true not only for vendors remotely providing digital services such as cloud storage or cybersecurity monitoring but also for third parties that access a secure network.

The consequences of a cyberattack can come in the form of reputation damage and new legal liabilities since more CRE applications are collecting both building management and occupant data. CRE owners could find themselves liable for damages after an attack, regardless of whether the offending party was from a business, a vendor or an occupant.

In short, know your vulnerabilities!

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