UK authorities release guidance on securing smart cities

Internet-connected technologies that power smart cities are a tasty morsel for hackers, and local authorities must be aware of the threats they may come up against in the face of cybercriminals who can interfere with the city’s infrastructure.

In today’s urban infrastructure, which includes ambulance services, transportation, traffic light management and video surveillance systems, a variety of sensors connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) are widely used to collect data to improve the quality of service. However, the UK’s National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC) warns that if not properly protected, cyber-physical systems in smart cities can be compromised by hackers.

The sheer amount of data collected and stored by IoT-connected cities, plus the potential for disruption to their systems, “makes these systems an attractive target for a number of attackers,” says NCSC’s new Smart Cities Security Guidelines . The guide outlines a number of principles that should be adhered to to ensure that these networks are as cybersecurity as possible.

To begin with, local authorities need to understand the role of their connected services. Having determined who is responsible for the connected service, what the IoT network will look like, what data will be collected, processed, stored and transmitted, as well as what operational technologies are already in use, the authorities can start connecting smart cities with security in mind.

Authorities also need to understand the potential risks to the connected city. To do this, you need to know what devices and software are used to connect and make sure that they are provided by a reliable, reputable supplier. A city should not deploy IoT devices with factory authorization credentials that make them an easy target for cybercriminals, especially if the data is “haphazardly collected or processed.”

Smart cities are supposed to help improve services for people, but reckless storage of data can lead to privacy breaches, and poorly implemented security can allow cyberattacks to interfere with the services and systems people need.

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