May 16, 2017

Smart infrastructure's cyber vulnerabilities

Ted Warren / AP

The WannaCry ransomware attack locked down computers and phone systems around the world. While that wreaked havoc, it's nothing compared to what we'll see when just about every major piece of our infrastructure is connected to the internet — from self-driving cars that rely on sensors that talk to each other to smart stop lights, railroads and bridges that wirelessly monitor traffic, speeds and structural problems.

"Wait until this happens to your car, or your refrigerator, or airplane avionics, or when your internet-enabled lock has locked you out," Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer at IBM Resilient, told the Christian Science Monitor.

Why it matters: Modernized power grids and connected cities are coming soon thanks to fast-evolving technology that is detailed in a report out this morning from While those Internet-of-Things capabilities are efficient and convenient, they also create incredible infinite network entry points for hackers.

We asked Chris Hopfensperger, the group's executive director, how to prepare for those vulnerabilities.

"This is a teachable moment for the lesson that computer and device security are vitally important on a global scale, and it should underscore a range of well-known security best practices," he said.

Those best practices, according to Hopfensperger:

  • For companies, that means ensuring security by design and using risk-appropriate protections.
  • For policymakers, it means ensuring that companies have the flexibility to develop new security technologies that address emerging threats without the constraints of technology mandates.
  • For users, everyone should start with using licensed and legal software, updating devices regularly, and being informed and engaged about security threats.

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Coronavirus antibody tests are still relatively unreliable, and it's unclear if people who get the virus are immune to getting it again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned on Tuesday.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Mexico reported its highest single-day death toll on Tuesday, after 501 people died from the coronavirus, per data from Johns Hopkins and the country's health ministry.

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Tuesday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.9 million tests).

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,588,299 — Total deaths: 350,417 — Total recoveries — 2,286,827Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,680,625 — Total deaths: 98,902 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy