Page 7 - Cybersecurity Career Guide for Alexandria College
P. 7

   Guarding Against
Subway Scares
The New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority discovered earlier this year that its com- puter systems had been breached. The perpetrators, believed to be backed by the Chinese government, didn’t demand ransom, nor did they access systems that controlled train cars (which would have put passengers at risk). Nonetheless, the intrusion is a cautionary tale for public transit systems across the country. While 80 percent of transportation agen- cies say they’re prepared to manage cybersecurity threats, only 60 percent of them have a plan in place, according to a study last year by the Mineta Trans- portation Institute.
Going Airborne
Hackers are targeting airlines as never before: Attacks increased 15,000 percent between 2017 and 2019. (Yes, 15,000 percent!) So far, hackers have primarily caused computer outages with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. By disrupting internet connections, hackers cause terrible delays, with all the impact on business and
personal lives that you
can imagine. Fortunately,
nothing worse has been
reported. But a plane’s
Wi-Fi or entertainment
system could be hacked
to enable tampering with
satellite communica-
tions and interfering with
navigation and control. A
tech-savvy hijacker could
change your route—or worse—without worrying about getting through airport security to board the plane. While airlines have robust cybersecurity systems in place, and pilots can still take control away from autopilot, without cybersecurity vigilance, passengers could experience more than just a bumpy flight.
 Shielding Our Schools
Schools hold a great deal of students’ personal data. But most known breaches in schools happened because of lax safety practices by companies or organizations working with schools, not the schools themselves. The risk to students’ data remains, however, and the problem is only getting worse. The recent increase in online and distance learning—thanks to COVID-19 and other factors—only amplifies schools’ reliance on outside companies for materials, technology, and learning services. These growing exchanges will expand the “attack surfaces,” or vulnerabilities to cyber- threats, that K–12 schools are going to have to learn better how to protect.

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