Hackable Smart Cities


Technology is making our cities smarter and smarter.  City management has been revolutionized by tons of new digital infrastructure.  

New York City currently has over 600 camera sensors that collect information such as bike usage and average vehicle speed for the Department of Transportation.  Barcelona has a smart lighting infrastructure that dims the streetlights when there is no traffic.

However, with more smart technology being used by city management comes a greater risk for cyber attacks on cities.

Cyber criminals are able to easy identify exposed devices and with smart cities running on immature security systems, it would be easy for hackers to control the systems.  Cyber attackers could create chaos by hacking into a smart city, causing widespread panic around the city.

A study by IBM showed that the weakest aspects of smart cities were sensors and controls, public default passwords, SQL injection, and bypassing authentication.

According to the IBM researchers, it is very difficult to patch a city network.  However, there are steps that IT officials can put in place to help keep cities protected.

Smart City IP addresses should be restricted, controlling who is permitted to connect with the smart city programs.  Remote administration features that are not necessary for the system to run, should be disabled as well.

Vulnerabilities can be identified by using application scanning tools.  A network security policy can also help to prevent cyber attacks by creating safe online habits for city employees.

Story via Computer Weekly