Cybersecurity, Technology and Protecting Our World

Cybersecurity is a cat-and-mouse game. Even as protective technologies are deployed, new countermeasures and attacks emerge. This means that the cybersecurity risks we face today will likely be applied to the technologies of tomorrow.

How prevalent are cybersecurity risks in our everyday lives? How will cyber attacks affect emerging technologies? To try to protect your personal and professional assets, it’s more important than ever to stay informed.

It’s time to check your cyber-savvy with this quick quiz.

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Efficiency and Smart Grids

Imagine this: Power plant operators across the country rely on the same software to monitor plant operations and its relationship to the grid. The software has helped them improve efficiency and reduce pollution. Occasional updates add new features and improve security. Threat actors obtained access to one of the updates before it was sent to users. They changed software code to give them backdoor access to plants across the country. When users updated their software, they unwittingly added a new vulnerability.

Which type of cyber attack does this describe?

  1. A trojan horse
  2. Supply chain attack
  3. Ransomware
  4. Data extortion

New Risks in Hybrid Work

You start a new job working remotely and your new boss asks to hold a video meeting. She appears on-screen, apologizes that she’s in a rush and needs to quickly tell you the procedure regarding employee health insurance payments. For security purposes, she says, human resources requires you to wire money to a specific account in order to cover your health insurance costs. As she rushes off the phone, you realize she hasn’t blinked.

Which is the best explanation for this exchange?

  1. Your Wi-Fi network is not password protected so neighbors are also using it, causing a slowdown and delay in the boss' video transmission
  2. Health insurers increasingly are facing cybersecurity breaches so customer payments are directed to secure accounts
  3. You were the target of a very advanced phishing attack
  4. You were being monitored by a third party, causing a bandwidth issue that results in your computer skipping image frames
  5. Your computer is infected with malware, causing poor image quality

Mobility in Smart Cities

Your city implements a connected traffic management system that can change stop lights in response to demand. Cameras and sensors interact with autonomous automobiles to help pick intelligent routes. The system eliminates gridlock and needless waiting at empty intersections. That’s until hackers seize control of the city’s internet-connected traffic lights, parking meters, cameras and other devices. They keep traffic flowing but instead use the devices to target local businesses with torrents of internet traffic that completely disables the businesses’ access to it.

Does this scenario most resemble a:

  1. Zero day exploit
  2. Cryptojacking
  3. Distributed Denial of Service
  4. Denial of Service
  5. Permanent Denial of Service

Privacy and Personal Finance

Like all other applications,  passwords are the gateway  to accessing  online banking information. Most of us also rely on an additional step: a six-digit code sent to our email or mobile device that makes sure our passwords aren’t stolen. But even these multi-factor authentication methods have been proven vulnerable. On top of that, consumers don’t like how much time it takes to go through the whole multi-step process. 

Which of these things might be used to replace the traditional password and six-digit code that we use now to access online banking?

  1. Facial recognition
  2. Your heartbeats
  3. Your location
  4. The speed and pattern of the keystrokes on a keyboard
  5. All of the above

IoT and Healthcare

Autonomous robots deliver meals to hospital patients but a malicious actor compromises one, then uses that access to breach the hospital IT network. The intrusion is discovered by hospital staff when a message on their computers says the hospital’s IT systems have been encrypted. The hospital does not know which patients are coming in for scheduled surgery, which doctors and nurses are supposed to work which shifts and it cannot bill insurance companies for payment. The hackers demand a payment to reverse the encryption.

This situation is called a:

  1. SQL attack
  2. Tunneling attack
  3. Ransomware attack
  4. IoT botnet

Utilities and Critical Infrastructure

An employee at a power plant clicks on a link that injects malware into his computer that gives them backdoor access to his computer. Over a period of years, the hackers use that access to infiltrate the plant’s entire network, writing custom malware to compromise obscure devices that control pumps, valves and switches inside the plant. During a natural disaster, they execute an attack that takes the power plant offline for several days.

Which type of malicious actor is likely behind this attack?

  1. Advanced Persistent Threat
  2. Script Kiddie
  3. Dark Web King
  4. Anonymous
  5. Nation-State Cyberwarfare team


We think you’ll find cybersecurity as fascinating as we do. So we’ve compiled a list of additional resources from IEEE and IEEE Computer Society to help satisfy your curiosity.

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