Anyone who lived before the 1980s or 90s through today knows that computer technology has steadily pervaded our lives in many aspects. One such aspect of this proliferation that quietly and seamlessly seeped into our lives is language—whether we expanded on the definitions of existing words, or created new words to explain these concepts.

Prior to this prevalence and familiarity, there were words and phrases with more limited meanings. A “virus” typically meant a biological pathogen unseen to the naked eye that infiltrates a host and makes it sick, possibly leading to death; today, the definition also refers to a potentially destructive code or program that attacks computers. In ancient literature, the “Trojan Horse” was a Greek sneak attack presented as a gift at Troy; today it is a misleading bit of malware that appears to be from a trusted or legitimate source, thereby fooling the recipient.

These words already existed in the English language and were given additional definitions, yet others had to be invented. Words that did not exist throughout much of the 20th century have become common in the 21st. Almost everyone now understands what “malware,” “internet,” and “gigabyte” mean, though even as recently as the early 1970s the words didn’t exist.

Unfortunately, there are computer terms that have negative connotations, and for good reason. “Cyberattack” and “ransomware” are two that have increasingly dominated headlines in the 2020s. There is a sobering new term with which the public must familiarize themselves—killware. The prefix in this word is intended literally.

Potentially Deadly Threat

Many cyberattacks have proven to be at best a bother, at worst a major blow to critical infrastructure. A lot of these attacks are for financial gain. Killware is a serious new type of attack threatening society today. The “kill” does not refer to destroying the systems—it means mass murder.

Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, spoke with USA Today and discussed the real threat of killware. He mentioned a particular incident involving a February 2021 attack on an Oldsmar, Florida water treatment plant. The objective of that attack was for no other reason than to spread contaminated water into the city’s drinking supply.

Thankfully the attack was unsuccessful, but it does not mean the next one won’t be. Killware could affect things that cost lives, including oil and gas infrastructure, healthcare, energy, and transportation. In essence, a city’s own infrastructure could be used as a weapon against itself.

This killware threat is severe and could include cataclysmic consequences. Security firm Gartner issued a release that forecasts a deadlier environment by 2025. While the financial loss, cleanup costs, and litigation liability should be enough to motivate organizations to increase their cybersecurity and protection in ransomware attacks, the likelihood of injury or loss of life stresses the importance of protecting their assets from killware.

Securing Assets

Part of any comprehensive solution is offline encrypted storage. SecureDrive external portable drives and flash drives are excellent means of transporting and storing data. They require user authentication to access and delete all data after ten consecutive, unsuccessful password attempts. The BT devices are compatible with Remote Management, which provides an extra layer of security. Administrators may remotely restrict drives through geo- and time-fencing to confine their use to certain locations or within certain times. They may also remotely wipe the drives in the event they’re lost or stolen.

These products ensure that data is accessed only by the most trusted users, helping an organization to secure its assets. They are designed to meet strict standards, including HIPAA compliance, PII data handling, and CMMC Level 3 clearance.

To start your security solution, or to enhance your measures in place and prevent yourself from being a killware target, contact an expert today at 424-363-8535.

Comments are closed.