Be aware of tech that's hackable

It is timely to highlight that any equipment which uses microprocessors and connects to a computer network is vulnerable to cyber security risks ("We're ill-equipped to detect cyber attacks, a third of S'pore outfits say"; Tuesday).

A special report by Bloomberg Businessweek last month detailed the cyber security risks in hospital equipment - such as intravenous (IV) drips and MRI machines - where experts in the field were able to install malware in them to gain further access to other networked equipment.

Not only was sensitive patient information at risk of theft, the experts were also able to show that a compromised IV drip machine can be controlled to deliver the wrong dosage of medicine without detection.

Earlier in the year, various news media reported that Chrysler recalled more than a million Internet-connected Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles after hackers showed they could hack into and remotely control the vehicles ("Jeep hacking triggers recall of 1.4m vehicles"; July 26).

Technology users, from individuals to companies and governments, need to be aware of such risks and ensure their networks are protected by a robust firewall.

Manufacturers of microprocessor-equipped and network-ready equipment, from printers and smart TVs to industry machines and cars, also need to design their products to be secure against cyber risks.

Users should also demand that manufacturers do so.

Alvin Tan Kia Seng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2015, with the headline 'Be aware of tech that's hackable'. Print Edition | Subscribe