Smart City Cybersecurity Risks
According to a report from the Centre for Long Term Cybersecurity at the University of California at Berkeley, emergency alerts, street video monitoring, and smart traffic lights are the primary cybersecurity threats for smart cities.
The research centre discovered that although cyber security is an issue for cities in general, not all smart city technologies are equally dangerous. The results of a survey of 76 cybersecurity experts were published in a report titled "The Cybersecurity Risks of Smart City Technologies: What Do the Experts Think?" in 2020. The experts ranked the various technologies based on their underlying known vulnerabilities, their attractiveness to possible threats, and the potential impact of a successful serious cyberattack.
The purpose of this research is to provide local authorities with information they can use to determine which smart city technologies offer the greatest cybersecurity concerns and whether or not they should implement them. The report recommends that on a case-by-case basis, local leaders should evaluate whether the dangers associated with adopting new technologies exceed the benefits. There's a warning to proceed with care around technologies that are both technically weak and enticing to would-be attackers, since attacks against such systems are likely to have far-reaching consequences.
Cyberattacks have waged war in certain cities
The term "smart city" often refers to the use of ICT to enhance municipal services and physical infrastructure. As a result, GlobalData predicts that the smart city market will grow from $441 billion in 2018 to $833 billion in 2030.
Some people have concerns about the security of their communities if governments and service providers are more interconnected over the internet through smart city technology.
Large-scale disruption or compromise of essential utilities like power or water may result from these kinds of attacks. In 2019, hackers hit over 40 US cities, with Baltimore being the most high-profile victim due to a ransomware assault that disabled most of the city's servers and several government operations. A total of $18 million was lost due to direct expenditures and income deficiencies when the city refused to pay a ransom.
Assessing the Cyber Risks
According to the center's analysis, local officials are overwhelmed with data and insights on the potential of smart city solutions to solve issues like traffic congestion, criminal activity, and wasteful resource use. The difficulty they have is determining how much of an impact cyber threat will have on whatever new systems they implement.
In order to better understand the risks associated with smart city technologies, researchers developed a risk assessment methodology that takes into account factors including attack surface area, system complexity, and potential outcomes of a successful cyberattack.
It was thought that emergency alerts, street video monitoring, and smart traffic lights constituted the greatest cyber security hazards, while other technologies were deemed less dangerous. Tracking water use, smart tolling, open data for public transportation, hearing gunshots, having smart trash cans and recycling bins, detecting water leaks via satellite, and detecting gunfire came in at places 4th through 9th.
The Future of smart cities
Reports of this kind will need to investigate, in light of the Covid-19 epidemic, if the concept of "smart cities" itself has outlived its usefulness. The experience of the previous year has lowered the concept of "smart cities" that was popularized a few years ago, when attacks came not from a cyber virus but from a real one. Instead of "smart cities," maybe the name "resilient cities" is more appropriate for the future. How resilient they truly are yet to be shown.
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