We live in a cyber-vulnerable world – a world governed by data. Data encapsulates almost every aspect of our personal and public life. It is heavily shared, distributed, stored and accessed, and it is constantly at risk. Recent mega-hacks, such as the ones on Target, Yahoo, and Ashley Madison, among others, demonstrate that leaking of personal information and misuse of our data are inevitable in a world that is becoming increasingly more connected and data-centric.
As concerning as these hacks are, we should be aware that at the end of the day, the risk is merely the misuse of data. Without question, attacks such as these can have devastating effects on people’s lives, but their outcome is limited to the virtual world and cannot touch the physical world, at least not directly.
This is all changing now as our world is gradually developing into a cyber-physical one. Wikipedia defines a cyber-physical system as one where physical and software components are deeply intertwined. That is, physical systems control, and are controlled, by electronic components.