Digitalization permeates every aspect of society and generates a wealth of opportunities for both companies and individuals. We are increasingly relying on digital functions and linking up more smart devices with the internet, such as house alarms, baby monitors and activity trackers.

And on top of that we now have solutions that enable us to control all linked-up devices in the home just by talking to them. Solutions such as Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa allow users to do things like switch lights on, get the latest traffic information, start playing their favourite music or adjust the temperature in the home – all using voice control.

There’s no doubt that digitalization brings convenience and simplifies many aspects of everyday life. But it’s important not to be blinded by all the opportunities offered by digitalization without reflecting on the increased vulnerability associated with linking the devices we use. A solution based on voice control registers everything that is being said in the home, so it can, for example, be a good idea to switch off the function when private conversations are taking place in the home, or if you’re working from home and receiving phone calls in which sensitive information is being discussed.

For a long time, cyber criminals were almost exclusively targeting companies or authorities rather than individuals. This was because an individual’s data was often not regarded as being interesting enough to sell on to a third party, unless it concerned bank or credit card details. But more recently cyber criminals have realized that an individual’s data is often valuable to the person in question. The person can therefore be blackmailed to pay ransomware, i.e. a hefty sum in order to have their personal data restored to them.

Increased digitalization in society has also meant the emergence of a raft of seamless payment and ID solutions. Most people have mobile banking ID on their mobiles, which can of course be used as identification when dealing with authorities, taking out bank loans, submitting tax declarations and shopping online. Naturally this service simplifies many processes, but it also means the consequences of an attack become more serious, and your mobile phone is like a database of hugely sensitive material.

In other words, increased digitalization in society brings both major benefits and new opportunities, but at a cost. In our latest Combitech podcast (Swedish only), my colleagues Susan Bergman and Elina Ramsell and I discuss how prepared we are for digitalization and its impact on society. Have a listen!