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The Risk of Smart City Disruption

February 26, 2020

If data breach to a single organization can be catastrophic, imagine what happens when the "organization" is an entire city. "Smart cities" where systems and services are interconnected in a single network are at serious risk of disruption according to many analysts.

In the post "Smart Cities Will Soon Be Under Attack" on the Cyber Security Intelligence website, Mariarosario Taddeo, senior research associate at Oxford University's Internet Institute says "The more you have smart cities, the wider the surface of attack".

Hackers could take over artificial intelligence controlling critical infrastructure or cloud data controlling connected cars. Another analyst quoted, Ryan Kalember head of cyber security strategy at Proofpoint, believes improved security using biometric authentification instead of passwords will address the problem. Security and privacy can be in conflict. According to Ms. Taddeo, pervasive data collection and constant authentification can create a panopticon - surveillance systems expanded out of proportion. 

In the coming decade, three pieces of technology will be crucial for both cyber security and cyber crime:

  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence will be needed for effective security, but will be used by hackers as well.
  • Cloud storage can make information easier to steal, but encryption can be more secure than physical drives.
  • Blockchain has been a secure way to share information among multiple users, but hackers may be able to compromise it.

The one certainty is that as we become more connected, the risks and challenges will only increase.