Security Market Segment LS
Wednesday, 30 May 2018 22:50

Smart cities face new security challenges: research

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Smart cities pose both new security challenges and opportunities, with new research revealing that there are several key areas of consideration — most notably the energy sector — when it comes to the security of these cities and the critical infrastructure systems on which they depend.

According to research from ISACA, the professional association for IT governance, assurance and cyber security professionals, the 2000 respondents flagged the energy sector to be the critical infrastructure system most susceptible to cyber attacks (71%), followed by communications (70%) and financial services (64%).

And energy and communications are also among the top three critical infrastructure sectors that respondents anticipate can benefit the most from smart cities, along with transportation.

The research also shows that malware/ransomware and denial of service are the two most concerning types of smart infrastructure attacks, with respondents noting that cities’ smart infrastructure is most likely to be targeted by nation-states (67%) and hacktivists (63%).

But, despite the many threats to which cities are specifically vulnerable, only 15% of respondents consider cities to be best equipped to contend with smart infrastructure cyber attacks, compared to 55% who think the national government would be better suited to deal with the threats.

“Before our cities can be identified as being ‘smart,’ we must first and foremost transfer this smart attitude to the way we approach and govern the rollout of new technology and systems,” said Robert Stroud, past ISACA board chair and chief product officer at XebiaLabs.

“Our urban centres have many potentially attractive targets for those with ill intent, so it is critical that cities make the needed investments in well-trained security professionals and in modernising their information and technology infrastructure.”

According to the research, the majority of respondents consider implementing new tools and techniques such as smart grids and artificial intelligence for cyber security to be important, but less than half of respondents consider those likely to be implemented in the next five years.

ISACA says the need for more effective communication with residents living in a developing smart city also is apparent, as three in four respondents indicate that municipal governments have not educated residents well about the benefits of living in smart cities.

“Tapping into smart technology to modernise parking, ID systems and other city services can create efficiencies and lessen congestion,” ISACA says.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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