The emergence of digital smell technology is elevating user experiences to a whole new level. This field of sensory technology enables the creation and dissemination of scents through digital means, making it possible for a range of industries, from healthcare and entertainment to education and marketing, to integrate the sense of smell into their services and practices, thereby enhancing user experiences. While digital smell technology is considered the future, its application has the potential to lead to cybersecurity issues. Digital smell technology combines various data, devices, software, hardware, and chemicals to produce and release a variety of scents, enabling users to experience them online without physical contact with the scent’s source. Like any emerging technology, digital smell technology has high potential in improving one industry. However, given its features and design that classify it as a type of IT-OT integrated technology, the cybersecurity potential threats in digital smell technology are inescapable.
To begin with, there are concerns regarding the safety and health risks associated with digital smell technology. Firstly, there is a possibility of malicious actors hacking into digital scent systems and distributing harmful or offensive scents. This could be particularly concerning in public places or medical facilities, where altered scents could cause panic or harm to people.
Secondly, the use of digital smell technology in healthcare involves collecting data from patients. Cyberattacks can lead to data privacy breach where data is accessed, manipulated, or changed by hackers, leading to misinterpretation of the data during treatment and potential harm to the patient’s health.
Another cybersecurity risk associated with digital smell technology is that it could be used as a vector for cyberattacks. As digital smell technology relies heavily on the collection and processing of personal data and involves digital scent devices that is connected to the internet, this could allow cybercriminals to exploit the devices as an entry point to gain unauthorized access to a network or device. Cybercriminals could exploit vulnerabilities in the digital scent system, like weak authentication mechanisms, unsecured data storage, or inadequate encryption, to gain access to sensitive data. Subsequently, with access to the system, attackers could use the data for malicious purposes such as identity theft, financial fraud, or espionage.
Moreover, digital smell technology can be used in social engineering attacks. As people nowadays spend most of their time online, deliver and receive various information via the internet, through emails and other communication platforms, the risk of being a phishing victim is increasing. Digital smell technology makes the risk higher as individuals may be inclined to click on a link that comes with manipulated scent, leading to malware infection or a phishing scam.
In conclusion, the implementation of IT-OT integrated technologies has always come with cybersecurity issues, and digital smell technology is no exception. However, as we seek to reap the benefits of new technologies, we must also anticipate challenges. Therefore, industries should carefully explore the cybersecurity potential threats in digital smell technology and establish a comprehensive plan to address any associated cybersecurity issues.
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