The Increasing Cybersecurity Threat on Smart Cities

March 18, 2021

The past few years have seen an increase in IoT and Smart devices across sectors, leading to a boom in actionable data that will undoubtedly change the way we live forever. From heightened manufacturing outputs to reduced traffic and pollution to increased fitness knowledge, the world is becoming more connected than ever before. Soon, cities will be able to offer their citizens an upgraded quality of life, drawing on and using all of this data. It’s hard not to be excited about the prospect of a safer and more efficient world.

However, one aspect of Smart technology threatens the ambition of Smart Cities – cybersecurity.

It is predicted that there will be 1 trillion connected devices by 2025. Nearly all aspects of a city can be ‘Smart’ – think of all of the devices you may even personally own, such as a smartphone, Smart speaker or Smart doorbell. On a metropolitan level, these devices are responsible for larger swathes of city living. Examples include IoT devices that track traffic patterns, enable energy or water mains, or facilitate machinery operating at ports. The main selling point of all of these devices, regardless of their purpose or sector, is their connectivity. These devices can all be operated remotely, gathering data or carrying out their other functions.

Currently, most Smart and IoT devices are not built with security as a priority, as evidenced by the numerous news stories in the past few years of hacked cars, security cameras, and even baby monitors. As cities move to Smart systems for critical systems, such as energy, traffic lights and connected and autonomous vehicles, cyberattacks will soon not only be a case of security, but of safety.

IoT devices are commonly victims of spoof attacks, where hackers assume the identity of a device to gain access to the larger network. Identity authentication is key to protecting machine-to-machine communications. By ensuring the legitimacy of a device’s identity and thereby ensuring the trustworthiness of its ensuing message, IoT devices and their networks are less likely to fall victim to these attacks.

Therefore, connectivity – the key to the future of Smart Cities – is also its fatal flaw. Each device represents a new point of entry for attack by nefarious actors. Even 5G, which is starting to be rolled out across the world, has security flaws. As the future backbone of connectivity across cities, it is imperative that 5G is secured.

Of course, not all security flaws can be fully anticipated, and as technologies develop, so do new risks. But the cybersecurity landscape today is already outdated and highly siloed, making it difficult to even begin to protect an attack surface which is so incredibly connected. Additionally, networks often contain a mix of technologies, standards and operators, making them even more complex. Finally, at the moment, end-to-end communication between devices cannot be assured. It is not difficult to see how this isn’t scalable or workable for the Smart Cities of the future.

Ultimately, there needs to be a complete paradigm shift in the approach to IoT, Smart technologies and cybersecurity. Developers need to ensure that security concerns are a priority from inception, and seek interoperability and identity management measures as much as possible. The time to secure future innovations is now, as these technologies emerge – any later will be too late.

This article was originally published in The Fintech Times.

Related Articles

ANGOKA NAMED TOP START-UP AT 2022 ITS EUROPEAN CONGRESS

ANGOKA NAMED TOP START-UP AT 2022 ITS EUROPEAN CONGRESS

At this week’s ITS European Congress in Toulouse, ANGOKA became a multi-award winning start-up, having successfully pitched and won two awards as part of the show’s highly competitive start-up pitching competition.  Hosted by ERTICO, the ITS European Congress is a...

ANGOKA to exhibit at ITS European Congress 2022

ANGOKA to exhibit at ITS European Congress 2022

ANGOKA are preparing to exhibit at this year’s ITS European Congress, joining the global ITS community at Europe’s biggest show for mobility solutions.  Now in its fourteenth year, the ITS European Congress is a landmark event attended by influential figures,...

ANGOKA’s innovation highly commended at Digital DNA Awards

ANGOKA’s innovation highly commended at Digital DNA Awards

ANGOKA's innovation and growth was highly commended at last night's Digital DNA Awards 2022 as we were named runner-up in the Digital Innovation Project of the Year award category.    The Digital Innovation Project of the Year award recognises teams who have delivered...

ANGOKA selected for inaugural Software République startup incubator

ANGOKA selected for inaugural Software République startup incubator

ANGOKA has recently been selected for Software République's startup incubator programme, a project that unites leading companies with innovative startups to accelerate sustainable, secure, and intelligent mobility solutions. As one of five startups selected for the...

ANGOKA Participates in Catalyst’s Generation Innovation Impact Day

ANGOKA Participates in Catalyst’s Generation Innovation Impact Day

As Belfast is the home of our HQ, we are passionate about giving back to the community and thrilled to join other NI tech companies in the Catalyst Generation Innovation Programme, presenting the excitement of the tech sector to the next generation of innovators. Last...

ANGOKA invited to contribute to CAM Scale-Up Alumni Panel

ANGOKA invited to contribute to CAM Scale-Up Alumni Panel

On 13th July, Zenzic hosted a CAM Scale-Up Alumni Event which was sponsored by HONDA R&D (UK). The event brought the CAM Scale-Up programme alumni together with recent graduates to engage in discussions about the successes of the programme and developments that...

ANGOKA wins big at Infosecurity Europe 2023

ANGOKA wins big at Infosecurity Europe 2023

Belfast-based cyber security specialist ANGOKA has been awarded the title of ‘UK’s Most Innovative Cyber SME’ at this year’s Infosecurity Europe. ANGOKA’s solutions for smart cities and smart mobility which strengthens the cybersecurity and safety of connected devices...

ANGOKA FLYING HIGH AS IT JOINS GLOBAL DRONE GROUP

ANGOKA FLYING HIGH AS IT JOINS GLOBAL DRONE GROUP

Belfast cyber security firm ANGOKA has been accepted as a member of Geneva-based Global Uncrewed Traffic Management Association (GUTMA). ANGOKA, which specializes in securing the safe passage of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV) and remote and automated road transport...

Translate »