Death by Hacking: The Emerging Threat of Kinetic Cyber

Death by Hacking: The Emerging Threat of Kinetic Cyber

Penelope Wang (Home Team Behavioural Sciences Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0156-5.ch022
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Abstract

Innovation and technological advancements have seen many devices and systems being linked up on to the Internet. Such devices and systems include personal medical devices like insulin pumps and pacemakers, cars, as well as critical infrastructure like power grids and traffic light systems. However, recent research by cyber security experts has revealed that these critical devices and systems are highly vulnerable to being hacked into and manipulated. Should such an attack be carried out successfully by bad actors, like violent extremists, this could result in physical injury or even death. Hence, this chapter aims to bring awareness on the kinetic cyber threat by highlighting various forms of kinetic cyber, and the vulnerabilities that make these devices and systems susceptible. In addition, this chapter introduces the motivations and characteristics of violent extremists who might engage in kinetic cyber, and ends off by proposing some recommended directions to counter this threat.
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Types Of Kinetic Cyber

In general, the primary targets for kinetic cyber are cyber-physical systems (CPS), which are computer systems that are designed to monitor and control physical processes (Applegate, 2013). The use of CPS can be found in a wide spectrum of industries, ranging from personal medical devices, automotive systems, traffic control and safety systems, to critical infrastructure control systems like electric power and water resources (Lee, 2008). The fact that these systems are connected to the cyberspace implies that they could potentially be hacked into and manipulated for purposes other than what they were originally intended for (Applegate, 2013). The idea that CPS are vulnerable to attacks is not a fantastical notion commonly found in the domain of film or television shows, but instead a very real threat that has been validated by security researchers in real life.

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