Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Sunday, October 22, 2017 09:39:00 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

How to keep smart cities cyber safe

Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Rebecca Root and Daniel Sager :
In 2016, the United States' National Security Agency had their "hacking tools" stolen in a cybersecurity breach, and the Bangladesh Bank endured a cyber attack that cost them a reported $81 million. In the first quarter of 2016, Kaspersky Lab, a cybersecurity and antivirus provider, also stated that 45 percent of its users in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa had reported a security incident.
As more cities become better connected, the issue of digital security looms large. What would happen if a system controlling electricity or water supply was hacked? If technology is being used during a humanitarian crisis to distribute aid, could a manipulation of the technology cost lives? And how can vital information such as health care and financial information be better protected?
Since technology, data collection and cloud storage are relatively new city management tools, people working within smart cities may not yet have all the answers to these questions.
Francesca Bria, Barcelona City Council's chief technology and digital innovation officer, says that until now it hasn't been clear that when developing technology and deploying services to maximize efficiency within a city, "respecting the basic fundamental rights of citizens" should also be considered. Those rights include privacy and security, rights that could be difficult to safeguard in a smart city without adequate security.
"Thinking that hackers won't attack your city or turn off the lights for the fun of it, or something much more dangerous and insidious, is crazy."
The solution to this, Bria told Devex in an interview, is to work with experts to make security "an integral part of the way we develop technology, we buy technology and we deploy services."
Such assets come with a cost however, one that some cities may not have funding for. Jesse Berst, chairman of the U.S.-based Smart Cities Council, said that when it comes to security in smart cities, "the number one issue is the lack of attention to the problem." This could mean a lack of resources and allocated funds, leaving some cities vulnerable to a security breach.
There are, however, some actions that practitioners working in a smart city space can take to help their city become a safe city.
1. Implement a security policy.
A study by the Smart Cities Council and multinational tech company Cisco found that only around one-third of cities surveyed had a city-wide security policy for their smart systems, while one-third had policies that only applied to individual city departments. That left the remaining third with no policy at all to guard against, or deal with, the potential hijacking of city street lighting or of critical software mapping violence in a city.
Berst said city leaders must implement cybersecurity policies and treat security more like a process than a one-time event.
"Thinking that hackers won't attack your city or turn off the lights for the fun of it, or something much more dangerous and insidious, is crazy," he said.
Berst explained that developing a policy begins by conducting an audit, which helps determine any weaknesses and the processes needed to strengthen these. This can be expensive and is a process that many cities have no choice but to abandon.
Bria, however, noted that the European Union Data Protection Reform, which will be brought into effect in May 2018, will offer a set of guidelines those in the EU will have to adhere to in order to protect digital data.
"Cybersecurity and vulnerabilities are now factors that will have to be considered at the very inception and built into the process," she said.
2. Make humans smart, too.
As Berst pointed out, "a large percentage of all cybersecurity problems arise from social engineering," a term that means that individuals are manipulated into divulging confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes.
Human error plays its part too: the biggest threat to smart cities may not be terrorist factions, hacking groups or malicious individuals, but merely someone unknowingly inserting an infected flash drive into a computer, or clicking on an email link from an unknown person. Picking secure passwords and remaining vigilant around unknown correspondence could help in safeguarding personal data in general, as well as that relating to a smart city.
In the global development community, smart grid technology is probably the most well-known use of the internet of things. But energy is just one example - truth is that the internet of things could drastically increase efficiency in many other ways.
3. Maintain internet of things devices.
Cities including Bangalore in India, and Maputo in Mozambique, are installing sensors to provide information that can streamline services. Information on waste and available parking spaces can cut city costs, reduce the amount of time a vehicle is emitting gases, and overall contributes to a cleaner, more efficient environment.
However, Berst said that every device feeding data into a central system is a point of vulnerability that hackers can intercept and manipulate. He pointed out that manufacturers are currently working on better protecting these devices, but it needs to start with city workers performing simple maintenance and updating software. That same logic applies to citizens and the updating of their smart city phone applications.
4. Work with experienced corporations.
Leaders of cities such as Brazil's Rio de Janeiro, and Medellín in Colombia, are used to tackling crime where the perpetrators are visible, but digital crime lacks this tangible element. Often people aren't aware there has been a security breach for some time and the damage is often never fully realized.
However, corporations and cloud providers such as Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and IBM have been dealing with security issues for years, and even lend their expertise to defense agencies and banks. Berst said there is no reason why those operating projects in a smart city can't fast track their way to cyber safety by working with them.
"Security and privacy are two of the biggest fears we hear from mayors and [chief information officers]," he said. "So the company that has answers for that - that has the system, the process and the framework - is going to have an advantage in selling to those cities, because it's really a blocker right now."
5. Embrace open standards.
Finally, there are protocols for the installation of smart systems, frameworks for the internet of things and software that has already been developed and available for public use.
While mayors may be tempted to create a smart system that is proprietary and tailor-made to meet specific needs and safeguard a city's own ideas, a system that has been used previously is likely to come with fewer security risks. Vulnerabilities in the software have already been identified and remedied and open-source communities - online societies built around publicly available source code - are usually quick to identify and address security.
Bria said that many cities share common problems, so it makes sense to use the same type of open-source software and share it.
"That can be done in one country, but also it can be done globally," she said.
(Rebecca Root is an editorial fellow at Devex. She has a background in journalism and communications, and has written for a variety of publications while living and working in New York and London. Daniel is a lead software engineer at Devex. He studied computer science, specializing in secure IT systems and artificial intelligence).

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Rains halt life: City fathers cannot cope, govt too happy with lies of success

WATERLOGGING has long been an inevitable part of our urban scenario that causes immense suffering to the city dwellers almost all the year round. After torrential rain, most parts of Dhaka, Chittagong, and other major cities go under knee-to-waist-deep water for several hours to few days. Despite, pouring millions of ...

Sports »

Injury ends Tamim's SA tour

Left handed opener Tamim Iqbal has been ruled out of the South Africa tour after aggravating a thigh injury. The 28-year-old opener is expected to return home tomorrow (Sunday) and will not be part of third ODI and the upcoming two-match T20Is series. The dashing opener sustained the injury to ...

Entertainment »

Have Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif fallen back in love?

They're one of the most loved on-screen couples of our times. Ever since Salman Khan introduced Katrina Kaif to Bollywood, his influence on her career has been immense. He's always looked after her and she's always sought advice from him. Even though either of them never made it public, it ...

Entertainment »

What happened when Aaradhya Bachchan met Rekha?

The Ambani's love throwing 'em lavish parties at their Mumbai residence Antilla. And off late, they've been throwing one party after another for our Bollywood celebs. Be it Ganpati or Diwali… the best of Bollywood heads to South Mumbai for the lavish festivities.  A tad late but an insider present ...

City »


International »

UN has `tremendous potential` under new leadership: Trump

AP, Washington :President Donald Trump said Friday that the United Nations has "tremendous potential" but has been underutilized in recent years.Trump praised U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has led the 193-member world organization since January, during an Oval Office meeting. It was their first extended meeting.The White House said the ...

Football »

Giroud`s overhead kick gives Arsenal 1-0 win at Red Star

Agency :Olivier Giroud scored late in the second half for Arsenal to maintain its perfect Europa League campaign with a 1-0 win over 10-man Red Star Belgrade on Thursday.Five minutes after Milan Rodic was sent off for a second yellow card, Giroud struck with an overhead kick five minutes before ...

Entertainment »

Ali Fazal and Shriya Pilgaonkar come together for Web Series

Shriya Pilgaonkar who was appreciated for her Hindi film debut as Shahrukh Khan’s love interest in Fan and for her viral short film Jai Mata Di, is now going to be seen in a web show called Mirzapur produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani for a global online platform ...

Editorial »

Flood victims yet to get enough support

GOVERNMENT and aid agencies have provided emergency relief for flood victims but not sufficient to settle flood victims as per media reports quoting Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) researchers who tried to figure out the distribution system in the Haor areas. Over 37 lakh people were affected in the floods ...

City »

Islami Andolon Bangladesh brought out a rally in the city on Friday in protest against price hike of gas and electricity.


International »

Iranian Army chief, Assad discuss joint military strategy

Reuters, Beirut :Iran's military chief met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday during a visit to Damascus to set out a joint military strategy, Syria's state news agency reported, a sign of deepening Iranian influence that has alarmed Israel.General Mohammad Baqeri said Iran was determined to continue supporting the ...

Editorial »

Mr Xi`s new vision for China

CHINESE President Xi Jinping has laid out a far-reaching vision for a more prosperous nation and a dominating role for China in the world as the US President Donald Trump is working on a reverse way isolating his country from the world leadership role. In the domestic front he has ...

International »

May to urge EU leaders to speed up Brexit talks

AFP, Brussels :British Prime Minister Theresa May will appeal to European Union leaders at a crunch summit in Brussels on Thursday to push forward the deadlocked Brexit negotiations.At a meeting moved to a new venue at the last minute due to an eruption of toxic gas, May will urge her ...

Cricket »

Rangpur Riders recruit Brendon McCullum

Sports Reporter :Rangpur Riders have recruited wicketkeeper-batsman of New Zealand Brendon McCullum for the up coming fifth edition of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).Chief Executive Officer of Rangpur Riders Ishtiaq Sadek said to the newsmen, " We have confirmed that McCullum will join our squad on November 15. He will play ...

Entertainment »

Titaan Chowdhury hosting `Sampan`

'Sampan' is one of the popular programmes of Chittagong centre of Bangladesh Television of present time. Dance, music, magic, etc are presented in this show. Popular face of the small screen Titaan Chowdhury is hosting this programme. Positive side is Titaan is hailed from Chittagong. So it becomes easier for ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news