Cybercrime Becomes a Major Concern
With data breaches and identity theft becoming almost daily news, it should be no surprise that many people regard cybercrime as a major threat to their personal security and safety. A recent Gallup poll found that cybercrime is a larger concern among Americans than violent crime or terrorism.
While those surveyed cited identity theft and theft of personal and financial information as their major concerns, the advent of 5G and the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) will make those concerns pale in comparison.
One reason for the increased security concerns is the irresponsible and reckless move by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to rescind a requirement that the technical specifications for 5G networks include the ability to withstand cyberattacks.
5G proponents tout the wonder of having all household appliances and systems connected to the internet wirelessly in order to give people remote access via cellphone or computer. What they don’t tout is how vulnerable you and your household will become to cyberattacks with a system that is not specifically designed to thwart such attacks.
Besides this, all of the connectivity you may want in your home is already possible and could be delivered more reliably and safely through wires. The one exception is a wireless cellphone connection to the IoT. But that connection is already available through 4G and Wi-Fi to those who want it, and that’s WITHOUT the need for a single 5G-related antenna.
Hijacking Your Home and Your Life
By allowing wireless internet access to household appliances such as refrigerators and washers, alarm and smoke detection systems, air-conditioning and heating systems, home surveillance cameras, entertainment centers, and even the family car, the wireless carriers and IoT device and sensor manufacturers are setting you up for a possible takeover by hackers. It’s a takeover that becomes ever more likely with each device you connect which only increases the number of potential weak spots vulnerable to a hacker.
If a hacker were to shut down alarm and smoke detection systems, this would pose immediate and obvious dangers. Turning off the heat in the dead of winter during a cold wave could lead to the bursting of frozen water pipes and the resulting water damage.
If a government with a cyber warfare military unit trained its sites on an enemy population, it could create havoc for those in IoT-connected households and businesses.
Death by Connected Car or Medical Device?
While computer viruses, ransomware, Trojan horses, and other malware have created headaches including computer downtime, lost data and financial losses, these malware programs are not believed to have led to major loss of life yet.
But if critical elements of our daily lives become wirelessly connected to the internet, the possibility for loss of life increases. Allowing control of these elements through wireless signals invites mischief and mayhem. It has already been demonstrated that today’s automobiles can be hijacked remotely by sophisticated hackers who access its wireless communications system and send signals that control the steering, brakes, transmission and dashboard.
Security experts have shown that wirelessly controlled insulin pumps (used by diabetics) and pacemakers (implanted to keep the heart beating regularly) can be hacked remotely. No loss of life has yet been reported. But security is so lax for such devices that they pose a threat to whoever uses them.
It’s even possible that a determined hacker could be hired to kill someone by remotely reprogramming or interfering with a critical medical device or even a router connected to one. Would the authorities even know that a murder was committed?
The Bigger Picture Points to Bigger Dangers
The connected world we live in makes major infrastructure such as power plants and water plants vulnerable to attack. Extending the vulnerability to every part of the electric power grid and other critical infrastructure through so-called “smart” wireless monitoring devices seems not smart at all when the results of a prank or a successful attack could be devastating.
The Real Reason Behind IoT
The real reason the wireless industry wants to hook all your appliances, home heating and air-conditioning system, security system, and automobile to wireless monitors and transmitters has nothing to do with your convenience. The purpose is actually to harvest information about every aspect of your life.
The industry intends to package and sell that information to anyone willing to pay for it: advertisers, law enforcement, and information brokers who will sell it to anyone. The first category merely leads to additional unsolicited ads and offers coming your way. The last two categories could have far more serious consequences for you and your family.
The information could be used by authorities to investigate innocent activities that seem “suspicious” to them. Unscrupulous buyers of your information could use it to manipulate you with fraudulent offers. They could also target personal vulnerabilities, for instance, by knowing your likely location each day at particular times.
Facial recognition systems are already being used to determine your age, gender and even your mood in order to post ads on electronic billboards and other display screens that will more closely fit your profile. Law enforcement, of course, wants to use such systems to keep track of you whenever you are out and about.
Wireless Wonders or Wireless Horrors?
The wireless wonders talked about by the industry may very well turn into wireless horrors. Building a SafeG world would significantly reduce the likelihood of such horrors because wired technology is far more cyber-secure than wireless. By its very nature SafeG would prioritize our privacy and security over the profits and plans of wireless industry giants.
To find out more about 5G dangers,
read 5G & Property Values.
Learn More about Privacy & Security
The Terrifying Potential of the 5G Network — The New Yorker magazine takes aim at the 5G network explaining its vulnerabilities to cyberattacks and surveillance. Published April 26, 2019.
The Internet of Things Will Turn Large-Scale Hacks into Real World Disasters — Bruce Schneier, security technologist and author of Click Here to Kill Everybody, explains why cyber threats are moving from the computer and cellphone into the physical world where they can do real physical damage. Published July 25, 2016.
The Most Telling Cyber Security Statistics in 2019 — “It takes half a year to detect a data breach” and that’s just for starters. Published February 20, 2019.
Cybersecurity: Coverage from What is 5G? — For those who want to dig deeper, detailed coverage from our sister site What is 5G?