Tracking Wildlife for Science Could Actually Help Poachers
Incidents of abuse raise concerns about the unintended consequences of pinpointing an animal’s location.
Hackers have infiltrated government websites, invaded corporate databases, and may have even helped to sway the results of the U.S. presidential election. Now researchers warn that cyber criminals might set their sights on another target: animal tracking data.
It’s hard to quantify how often hackers have actually tried to access this type of information. The paper points to one example from 2013 in which a failed attempt was made to retrieve the location of an endangered Bengal tiger at the Panna Tiger Reserve in central India. The head of a tiger monitoring program, Krishnamurthy Ramesh, received an email that alerted him to an attempt to access his professional email account, which held the location of the rare cat. The incident prompted the program’s managers to deploy drones for surveillance and set up wireless sensors to detect human intrusions into the forest.
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