Securing Smart Cities – We Need a New Initiative!

Dear Commons Community,

Cities around the world are spending billions of dollars into bringing more of their basic services and infrastructure online. Big data and analytics are finding their way into health care, education, social work, traffic control, housing, police, and most other city services. The New York Times has an article cautioning mayors and managers that they are not paying enough attention to cyber security and their databases are increasingly vulnerable with each new application. As reported:

“…Cesar Cerrudo, an Argentine security researcher, began pointing out critical vulnerabilities in America’s so-called smart cities, where wireless sensors control a growing portion of city infrastructure from traffic lights to water and waste management systems.

One year later, Mr. Cerrudo discovered that little had been done to patch those basic vulnerabilities, even as cities around the world poured billions of dollars into bringing more of their basic infrastructure online. Without renewed focus on security, he and other researchers warn, those cities are just creating larger and larger targets for nation states and cyberterrorists.

“What I found is that there are a lot of security problems — the situation is really bad — but I didn’t want to just point out problems without offering solutions,” Mr. Cerrudo said.

In response, on Tuesday, he and others from IOActive Labs; Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cybersecurity company; and a growing list of security experts will announce a new Securing Smart Cities initiative. Their goal is to bring private security researchers and public administrators together to set up basic cybersecurity checklists for smart cities, including properly installed encryption, passwords and systems that can be easily patched for security holes…

Every day cities are incorporating new technologies really fast without any testing and they are putting citizens and businesses at risk,” Mr. Cerrudo said in an interview. “Every day we depend more and more on technology. If that technology is not secure and protected, it will get attacked, and people and businesses will suffer the consequences.”

This is sound advice!



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