Today GIS gives people the ability to create their own digital map layers to help solve real-world problems. GIS has also evolved into a means for data sharing and collaboration, inspiring a vision that is now rapidly becoming a reality—a continuous, overlapping, and interoperable GIS database of the world, about virtually all subjects. Today, hundreds of thousands of organizations are sharing their work and creating billions of maps every day to tell stories and reveal patterns, trends, and relationships about everything.
Systems detect more infections with every passing second around the world. GIS helps us to understand the scale of this problem and detect meaningful trends. Mapping cyberattacks in real time reveals just how common such incidents are and how important it is for organizations to have updated countermeasures in place.
Fortunately, spatial information also helps more directly, allowing security experts to discover unauthorized activity early. To minimize the consequences of a data breach or malware attack, stakeholders need to communicate clearly and coordinate an immediate response. GIS can provide clear visualizations of the systems involved in an incident and promote situational awareness across multiple departments.
A detailed perspective on the flow of data through an organization’s network leads to actionable intelligence about any disruptions or device failures that may interfere with operations. Spatial information ties an incident to specific places, allowing experts to judge whether the issue stems from an intentional attempt to compromise the system and assess the effects. Maps can then guide cybersecurity and IT personnel as they set priorities and decisively head off the intrusion.
Cyberattacks on energy providers may take various forms, such as sending inaccurate information about the demand for power in particular areas. Systems responding to these false estimates of electricity use might cause imbalances and power outages. Fortunately, GIS can help to address this vulnerability.
Detection software uses GIS mapping to monitor the distribution of energy, giving energy companies greater visibility into operations throughout the power grid. Meanwhile, security detection algorithms can spot issues in the distribution load that might indicate that operators are receiving deceptive information. If any anomalies show up, energy providers can evaluate whether they are the result of a hack and respond accordingly.
In these cases, cybersecurity professionals must implement a layer of security that prevents unauthorized access to geospatial information and metadata. Effective access control mechanisms may include:
As our world faces problems from expanding population, loss of nature, and pollution, GIS will play an increasingly important role in how we understand and address these issues and provide a means for communicating solutions using the common language of mapping.