Smart Cities

How to protect smart cities from hackers? – 12/18/2021 – Claudio Bernardes

One of the important characteristics of smart cities is their ability to collect, store and process information, with the aim of optimizing the operation of urban areas. The trend is that, in smart cities, traffic controls and services, vehicles, buildings and even people are connected. In that way, human needs can be met, and everything can work at the highest levels of energy efficiency and effectiveness.

The convergence of physical and digital infrastructure, the resulting interoperability, and interconnection between city systems and data are ongoing efforts. However, this wide connectivity brings dangerous vulnerabilities.

In this context, a cyber attack can disrupt essential public services, expose personal and financial data, and complicate a city’s economic development. This is certainly not a comforting prospect for cities that are definitely relying on sensor-based infrastructure networks to operate public services such as power distribution, mobility systems, street lighting, security, garbage collection, healthcare and more. .

Experts say cybersecurity can be achieved with a combination of better technically prepared people, adequate policies, enforcement and technology. Furthermore, it is necessary to understand that this security must be measured by the “weakest link in the chain”. If a highly secure system is integrated and connected to poorly protected components, the overall level of security will also be poor. Developing a successful security policy begins with conducting an audit to determine any weaknesses as well as the processes needed to strengthen them.

Smart cities have sensors to collect and process different information related to the different operations of urban services. However, each device that feeds data into a central system represents a point of vulnerability that hackers can intercept and manipulate. It is important to improve the protection of these devices by constantly updating the software.

While municipalities may try to develop bespoke software to meet the city’s specific needs, a system that has been used previously is likely to pose less security risk. Vulnerabilities in the software were identified and fixed. Many cities share common problems and it can make sense in many situations to use the same type of software.

An integrated cybersecurity approach must be anchored on a reliable digital platform, on the concept of citizen privacy, on a threat intelligence system, on a model of resilience to attacks and on a broad training program for all professionals involved with this issue. An integrated cyber risk framework can provide cities with management principles to be incorporated into smart urban transformation planning.

Today, it has become imperative for governments around the world to analyze the importance of putting a functioning, impenetrable cybersecurity system in place, and to spread cyber awareness to make any attacks as difficult as possible. Staying one step ahead of cybercriminals is the need of the moment, as the world is being hit by an era of pandemics and is forced to maintain virtual connectivity in all fields and sectors. Governments need to prioritize assets, understand the risk landscape and implement improved levels of security controls to better manage and mitigate future risks.

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Experts say cybersecurity can be achieved with a combination of better technically prepared people, adequate policies, enforcement and technology. Furthermore, it is necessary to understand that this security must be measured by the “weakest link in the chain”. If a highly secure system is integrated and connected to poorly protected components, the overall level of security will also be poor. Developing a successful security policy begins with conducting an audit to determine any weaknesses as well as the processes needed to strengthen them.

Source: https://aw-journal.com/how-to-protect-smart-cities-from-hackers-12-18-2021-claudio-bernardes-3/

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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