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In August last year, two cybersecurity researchers identified six flaws in US carmaker Tesla’s Model S, one of which allowed them to take control of the car and shut it down. They acknowledged that the hack required them to physically dismantle the vehicle’s dashboard and connect to an exposed Ethernet port, and that the model remained among the most secure available. Still, within two weeks of being notified, Tesla pushed an over-the-air (OTA) update to every single Model S, addressing a number of the vulnerabilities and increasing the overall security of the system. The makers of the world’s most connected car also wooed hackers at the Def Con Hacking Conference to help uncover issues that made its cars vulnerable to cyberattacks.
The digital age has opened the door to incredible opportunities for businesses—never before has it been possible to scale new products and services so rapidly, acquire information from hundreds of millions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and personalise customer interactions in real time. However, with these opportunities come increased exposure to systemic risks. And as every digital advancement creates a new vector for risk, trust has become the cornerstone of the digital economy.
Of the 3,200 business and IT executives we surveyed, 80 percent said that trust was a key differentiator in the digital economy. Digital businesses need to maintain trust to use and share big data. They need it to develop ecosystem connections to a range of business partners. They need it to satisfy regulators and cybersecurity insurers. And most importantly, they need to build trust at every engagement point of the customer journey to sustain long-term relationships.
This trust is built on two major components—security and ethics.
To gain the trust of individuals, ecosystems and regulators in the digital economy, businesses must be strong in both these components. New products and services must also be designed to be both ethical and secure.
Tesla’s swift and comprehensive response to the security threat can be seen in this light.