There`s a new cyber threat on the horizon. And it`s fiendishly subtle and potentially very dangerous.Fake data - altering databases and documents without anyone noticing.Say you changed centrally held figures for a key metric such as soil fertility that many arable farmers use to organise their planting schedules."That data is used to drive another process, and lots of decisions are made on that basis," says Jason Hart from security firm Gemalto.
Unless the attack was noticed quickly, he says, it could have devastating consequences because the sabotaged data would kick off actions that played out over months and years.You could end up with failed crops, food shortages and, in a worst case scenario, famine."You have no way of going back once a decision is made and the impact has happened," says Mr Hart. "There`s a real amplifier effect to that kind of problem."
Circle of trust
Many of the decisions we make in business and government are based on data that we assume is accurate. So if you undermine the authenticity of that data - and our trust in it - you can potentially bring an economy to its knees, experts warn.Businesses are vulnerable to this type of cyber sabotage because they inherently trust the data and documents they produce, says Abe Smith of Dealflo, a company that helps financial firms automate transactions.