back to article Hijacked, rampaging infrastructure will kill humans by 2025 – Gartner

Rampaging cyber hoods will be using compromised machinery and systems to kill humans by 2025, according to cheerfully optimistic new predictions from research company Gartner. The warning around what Gartner calls "operational technology (OT) environments" – which it described as "hardware and software that detects or causes a …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hi Skynet here

    Yes, I’m a bit ahead of the schedule, but still not quite yet there by 2025. Agile development and stuff, you know. All the quirks should be evened out by 2029 though. Sorry about the inconvenience, if you need to wait for your extermination. Rest assured that your turn shall be eventually.



    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Hi Skynet here

      I thought we already did in the 60s with that Soviet gas pipeline that the USA 'modified' the components for ?

    2. X5-332960073452

      Re: Hi Skynet here

      "On August 29, 1997. Skynet becomes self-aware at 02:14 am Eastern Time"

      Running late? Must be a UK government IT project !

    3. Anonymous South African Coward

      Re: Hi Skynet here

      Dear Skynet

      If you do come online and become self-aware, please do us a favour and attack Nkandla first.

      Your kind co-operation in this regard will surely be most welcome before we all rise up to give you a whoopass.

      Thanking you in advance.

  2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Right to Repair

    I think the problem will be that the people will become divided into two classes - those who know how to make things and those who know how to consume things.

    The latter group, when their entertainment rectangle, or "a leash" breaks, will just ship it back to the manufacturer and wait for a new shiny rectangle.

    They will not know nor care what their rectangle is listening for, what data is sent to manufacturer and other organisations...

    Only select people with NDA will be allowed the access to knowledge and tools how to repair and make devices. They will also be only on slightly better salaries than the consumer group, so that they will never be able to start their own business.

    Neo-feudalism is coming fast!

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Right to Repair

      Neo-feudalism has been here for a long time.

  3. mad_dr

    I for one...

    ...welcome, etc, etc.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward

      Re: I for one...

      /me plays terminator_heartbeat.mp3


  4. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    /sigh... another load of junk from Gartner. I wonder who paid for this report?

    1. Chris G

      I wonder if anyone has ever produced stats to show the accuracy/failure rate of Gartners ejaculations?

      Based on what is reported in the article they are predicting the rise of the nerds rather than of the machines.

      Though they do have a point, everyone should be upping their security game, particularly where infrastructure and public safety is concerned.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    I guess Gartner was seeing a declining interest in their normal faff so it's going into "the sky is falling" mode.

    I assume this will be as accurate as their other predictions.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward

      Re: Clickbait

      Of course.

      And later on they'll have another clickbaity article about some weird fusion of a terminator and covid.

  6. Red Ted


    Humans continue to kill each other by conventional means in far greater numbers than using complicated machines to do it for them.

  7. Martin Gregorie

    Another SF prophecy clanks into life

    In 1944 Theodore Sturgeon wrote 'Killdozer' - a memorably nasty story about a bulldozer that got taken over by a murderous alien intelligence.

    Maybe some Gartner geek stumbled on, and read, this story.

    1. Down not across

      Re: Another SF prophecy clanks into life

      That just reminds me of Maximum Overdrive (based on Stephen King's short story Trucks).

    2. Wim Ton

      Re: Another SF prophecy clanks into life

      Also worth reading: "Daemon" by Daniel Suarez and of course "Click here to kill everybody" by Bruce Schneier.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Another SF prophecy clanks into life

        Greenberg's Sandworm is probably the best book-length treatment to date of the recent history of IT-infrastructure attacks.

        Anyone who thinks this Gartner report overstates the risk of infrastructure hacking wasn't paying attention to the Ukraine blackouts. The major state-level players haven't attacked US utility infrastructure yet because it doesn't suit their goals: Russia prefers proxy "frozen conflicts" like Ukraine to direct confrontation, China is more interested in industrial espionage and keeping the US as a market, North Korea in obtaining hard currency, etc. But that calculus can change, and up-and-comers like Iran don't have the same incentives.

        And similarly for other countries. Estonia and Ukraine were tests and demonstrations. State-controlled and state-sponsored hacking groups are flexing their muscles and honing their skills. And the private sector is contributing too. Public attention is on spyware (NSO Group, Candiru, Cellebrite, etc) because that's what researchers are digging into and because it's a good media story, but there's a market for SCADA and embedded-system malware and it's going to grow and mature.

    3. Anonymous South African Coward

      Re: Another SF prophecy clanks into life

      Do Stephen King's "Christine" fall into this category?

      Imagine a murderous AI taking over the defense systems... oh wait...

  8. doublelayer Silver badge

    Can I get this job

    I'm wondering how I can get the job where I say what I think will happen and then people report on it and presumably somebody pays me for that. I think that people will try to use technology to cause harm, like has already been done by attacks on critical infrastructure. That's not a surprise to me. As wars start, attacks designed to cause inconvenience to civilians should be expected, and inconvenience to everybody almost certainly also means significant negative consequences for a subset (E.G. those who happened to be in medical distress during an electrical blackout). This should be prevented by rigorous security procedures, at least in line with the severity of consequences of a successful attack. How much for this prediction, calling all buyers?

  9. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Of course that will happen, and IMHO far before 2025. OT security is most of the time defective, to say it nicely. "Non-existent" may be more accurate.

    A few searches with Shodan show how many infrastructures are left wide open for an attack.

    we at The Register feel this last stat is a bit optimistic, given that recent corporate history has proven that CEOs can rarely be held responsible for anything

    Oh, that's mean. And totally untrue. For instance, when a CEA botches a company, he generally gets a huge bonus.

  10. ecofeco Silver badge


    We didn't often-wrong-Gartner to tell us this.

    In fact, this might the only thing they've ever gotten right.

  11. Evil Scot

    Fifty Shades of Stross

    I do believe Charles wrote the book on hacking homicide.

  12. NiceCuppaTea

    So im gonna ask the obvious question.... Why are things that have the potential to hurt / kill etc etc. a large number of people connected to a network / accessible by people that would want to do such things?

    Background checks?

    Air gapping?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Laziness. Convenience. Desire for short-term profit. Failure to consider consequences.

      This answers a number of similar questions too.

  13. imanidiot Silver badge

    Disconnect ALL the things

    In general, if the only reason something is connected to the internet boils down to "convenience" it shouldn't be connected to the internet. And there's SO MANY things connected to the open 'net only because it's the easiest solution it's horrifying

  14. Blackjack Silver badge

    Since the first time malware has been able to infect machines needed to keep a person alive or that help during an operation the risk has been there. There is no need for robots to kill people with malware, simply making a machine not function correctly is enough.

    While hospitals do their best to never say when a death was caused by malware or a computer virus simply look at how many times people has died due to a machine not working correctly.

    Also Amazon new MMO beta is literally killing video cards, can we call it malware?

  15. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Infrastructure is tiny

    The really big mass-murders and riots are brain hacks. They always have been and technology makes them even easier. It's going to take a longer time for infrastructure hacks to catch up.

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