Access and Feeds

Smart City Ecosystems: An Invitation to Hackers?

By Dick Weisinger

By 2050 two-thirds of people will be living in urban areas. Smart application of technology to cities is expected to improve the quality of life for its citizens. Some of the goals of Smart Cities include utilizing resources efficiently, reducing the environmental footprint, improving transportation, enabling safer communities, and reducing costs.

But one big problem with Smart Cities is keeping up with all the security holes that need to be filled. Additional smart devices and online systems mean the potential for hacking jumps considerably.

Dave Weinstein, former chief technology officer of the state of New Jersey, said that “the reality of the situation, and the risk we have to manage, is that we’re introducing new opportunities for malicious hackers to exploit devices that have previously required physical access. We’re lowering the barriers to entry.”

Dimitrios Pavlakis, industry analyst at ABI Research, told GCN that “in this increasingly connected technological landscape, every smart city service is as secure as its weakest link. Lack of cryptographic measures, poor encryption key management, non-existent secure device onboarding services, weaponized machine learning technologies by cyber-attackers, poor understanding of social engineering, and lack of protection versus Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are just are some of the key issues contributing to the amplification of cyber-threats in smart city ecosystems. This is further exacerbated by the lack of digital security investments and will, unfortunately, jeopardize the key elements of intelligence, efficiency, and sustainability of future smart city deployments.”

John Breeden II, CEO of the Tech Writers Bureau, wrote for that “smart city projects need to be held to a higher cybersecurity standard than the average computer network, and that isn’t happening. It’s far better to implement advanced security like identity management or zero-trust networking to smart city programs now than to have to worry about how hackers can hurt us, sometimes literally, in the near future as cites strive to add more intelligent programs to their infrastructure.”

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