One of the major themes as the iPro Innovations 2016 Conference was security – at the corporate and firm level as well as from a consumer perspective. The common thread for each is that security is paramount and it needs to be better.

Chris Valasek is a hacker – but he’s one of the good guys. Valasek, a keynote speaker at Innovations, explained that he started off as a programmer who was not very good at his job creating new things, but he was really good at breaking them. So that’s what he set out to do – but with a greater good in mind. His goal is to show the world how important it is for products and services to be secure right from launch or implementation, instead of being patched along the way after the holes are exposed.

Along with his ‘partner-in-crime’, Charlie Miller, Valasek was able to hack into Jeeps throughout North America and take over physical control of entire vehicles, remotely. And all without being detected or leaving any trace. The purpose of this exercise was to expose security flaws (if they in fact existed) and prove his point: that product developers need both builders and breakers – he says developers need to “innovate and secure-o-late”.

What does all of this this mean for us, as consumers? Valasek emphasizes that we don’t need to go offline and we should absolutely “embrace the chaos”; but at the same time that we are asking about price, warranties and service levels, we also need to ask questions about security and make certain that our product and service providers are doing the same.