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 Software.org. 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

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
25 mins ago - Economy & Business

The dangerous instability of school re-openings

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Schools across the country have flip-flopped between in-person and remote learning — and that instability is taking a toll on students' ability to learn and their mental health.

The big picture: While companies were able to set long timelines for their return, schools — under immense political and social strain — had to rush to figure out how to reopen. The cobbled-together approach has hurt students, parents and teachers alike.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump doesn't have a second-term economic plan

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump has not laid out an economic agenda for his second term, despite the election being just eight days away.

Why it matters: This is unprecedented in modern presidential campaigns, and makes it harder for undecided voters to make an informed choice.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment
Column / Harder Line

How Trump’s energy endgame could go

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Expect President Trump to redouble his efforts loosening regulations and questioning climate-change science should he win reelection next month.

Driving the news: A second Trump administration would supercharge efforts by certain states, countries and companies to address global warming. But some wildcards could have a greener tinge.