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Boost cyber security for green tech, firms told

In File Photo: Corporate hacks prompt United States review of public role in company security.

COMPANIES adapting sustainable technologies should put in place safeguards against cyber attacks due to their vulnerability to such threats, a cyber-security specialist said.

Exclusive Networks Country Manager Pen Bumanglag, in an interview with the BusinessMirror, said that cyber criminals—even disgruntled employees—can exploit the security gaps and weak links across the entire value chain.

“Operational technologies, the computerized systems used to control industrial operations and critical infrastructure services that control everything from the electricity grid to traffic light controls, often run on legacy equipment that have weak cyber security which prioritize efficiency over safety,” she explained.

Bumanglag also noted the risks of greater use of electronic devices and Internet of things as such increase interconnectivity. This expands the attack surface available to cyber criminals, she pointed out.

The cyber-security expert said this means that a “hack of the grid or a compromised device that interacts with it, including consumer technologies such as smart meters and electric vehicles, could cause significant damage to many other systems and companies downstream.”

Citing a global report, she said that more than half of organizations surveyed dealt with ransomware attacks, or data extortion attempts for financial compensation, amid the pandemic. Such cases have been scaling and cyber criminals are even targeting high-value organizations, she added.

Companies can protect themselves from such cyberthreats through investments in advanced cyber-security systems that use artificial intelligence and machine learning, she said.

“Security Orchestration, Automation and Response [SOAR] tools help organizations predict, monitor and contain attacks, allowing timely responses that reduce the number of successful attempts and limit the impact of breaches,” Bumanglag noted.

Apart from this, the country manager said that companies should craft a set of cyber-security standards aimed at equipping employees with knowledge on risk management in case of data breach.

Bumanglag said the policies may include risk assessments, regular backing up of data and simulation exercises to prepare the employees.

She stressed that companies should also launch training programs on the matter for the employees.

“They are the first line of defense for companies in any cyber-security measure, and it would be critical that they observe and implement basic cyber hygiene,” Bumanglag said. “This includes not reusing passwords across multiple sites and changing them regularly, and not opening every e-mail and attachment that they receive.”

Sustainable or green technology fosters economic and social development without compromising natural resources, Bumanglag said. It includes technologies for clean energy production, recycling robots, electric vehicles, financial technology and artificial intelligence.

“The Covid-19 outbreak has brought many sustainability issues including carbon emissions, health care and poverty to the fore. It has shown us the need to build resilience to withstand future shocks from climate change and create a more sustainable society,” she said.

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