A cyberattack leads to death. What’s next?

The digital transformation is happening as you’re reading these words. It’s happening everywhere in every aspect of our lives transforming our culture, social interactions, public and private sectors in every industry. The transformation is not only affecting us positively, but also the recent incident from Düsseldorf should finally open our eyes. 

The Technology Grows Exponentially

In the book, The Singularity Is Near, Ray Kurzweil proposed a theory that technology grows exponentially. This means that at first, it seems to be steadily developing, and after reaching a certain point, it accelerates faster. Kurzweil wasn’t the only person to form this thought and we already have so many examples that back it up such as computer  chips being one of the most popular examples.

By growth, we mean that the technology is becoming more accessible, more widely used, and most importantly–it becomes more powerful.

The problem is that not all tech is used for positive reasons– it gets cheaper and more powerful as well.

We Are Quite Advanced Already

The high technology that is used and developed right now is already advanced. Think about AI or machine learning, big data, blockchain, Internet of Things, and other emerging and disruptive technologies.

Even if we don’t recognize them as revolutionary enough today–for whatever reasons–after reaching the breaking point and heading for a steep growth curve, there’s no turning back. Technology will change our world, introducing aspects we can’t even imagine right now.

This change can also happen much sooner than we might expect.

Science Fiction Becomes a Reality

We’ve all seen countless movies that portrayed future scenarios. Netflix’s Black Mirror series depicts futuristic scenarios based on technology advances. Probably, the scariest aspect of this  series is that some of these events can happen now.

On September 18, 2020, a woman died in Düsseldorf hospital. What’s unusual is the fact that the death is linked to a cyberattack.

It was a so-called ransomware which encrypts data until a ransom is paid to the hackers. It effectively took down 30 servers at the University Hospital in Düsseldorf which crashed the hospital’s systems. This, in turn, forced the hospital to turn away emergency patients. One of them was a woman with life-threatening injuries. She had to be transferred to a hospital in Wuppertal, over 30 km away from the original destination. This woman died due to treatment delays caused by a cyberattack.

It’s probably the first case where a cyberattack caused a human’s death.

We Need To Keep The Conversation Going

The technology grows exponentially, but this also means that cyber weapons become more powerful. Over time making the attacks cheaper, lowering the entry barrier for more and more individuals, and groups that want to make a quick buck or cause havoc for whatever reasons–financial, political or any other.

This means some digital threats are still unknown and some questions need to be answered. Can we create an unbreakable systems and networks? What if quantum computers become stable enough to crack any system that right now might seem safe? How are we going to address the effects that technology has on the social sphere? How will digital transformation change humanity? Can we protect societies and states from the influence of hackers–no matter for what reasons they attack?

There are no simple answers here. At least at this point in time. But we need to keep the conversation going until we find solutions.

A lot of these conversations will happen on Cybersec Global 2020, on September 28th -30th. We’ve invited over 100 experts to join panels and speak at keynotes to push and seek for cybersecurity-related answers.

After all, cybersecurity becomes our general security and the world’s peace now.

Join Cybersec Global 2020 online conference for free and learn more about the topics discussed in this article.

Comments are disabled.