According to statistics, 54% of the world’s population lives in cities and that percentage will rise to 66% by 2050. Our cities will be transformed into smart cities. From entire transportation systems to grid stations, everything will be connected to the internet. Yes, this might make things much more convenient for residents, but it also poses a bigger security threat and makes us more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. That is why it is important to design smart cities with security in mind.
Cybersecurity of smart cities is one topic that rarely gets highlighted in print and electronic media. Due to this, there are many harsh realities associated with smart cities most people did not know about. How can you prepare for future attacks on critical infrastructure when you don’t even know about these harsh realities? You can’t. To ensure you are well equipped to face future cybersecurity challenges, it is important to know about the underlying cybersecurity risks of smart cities.
In this article, you will learn about seven harsh cybersecurity realities of smart cities that no one is talking about but should.
Wider Attack Surface Area
Smart cities will consist of connected homes, connected cars, and even connected logistics. This means that there would tons of data moving from one place to another. Throw in millions of IoT devices into the MX and you get a hyperconnected environment where every device might be at risk. With a large attack surface area to target, cybercriminals can fulfill their malicious designs much easier than they do today. The key to success is to master IoT security and try to secure your most critical information.
Hackers Will Have More Opportunities
The wider attack surface means that hackers will have more vulnerabilities to exploit and it will surely motivate them to do it too. The lack of IoT security standards makes things even worse. With no concrete measures in place to secure your data in transit, hackers won’t find it tough to get access to it. What’s even worse is that they can easily get away with it too because tracking IoT based data transfer and activity can be tough. You could have many unattended devices that you might have forgotten about, but hackers can easily compromise those devices and use them to get access to your critical systems.
Possibility of Panic
Despite all the efforts, customers are still reluctant to share their sensitive information online. Did you know why? Because they believe that brands can not keep their data safe from hackers. News of frequent data breaches where hackers can steal sensitive credit card information of users is a testament to that. All this is happening today when the idea of smart cities is in its infancy. Imagine the level of fear and panic situation it would create when your private data can be accessed by anyone, whether it is your grocer, government, or even your friends. You are literally being watched and monitored round the clock.
Shortage of Skilled personnel
The cybersecurity industry is struggling to fill in the talent gap. There is far less talented and skilled personnel out there who can deal with current and future challenges. On the other hand, the army of hackers will only grow in number as they can get motivation from a wider attack surface, soft targets, and the ability to get away without leaving a trace. The best way to cope up with this situation is to invest in good cybersecurity tools. Follow the best cybersecurity practices and hire ethical hackers to help you out. Take steps that can help you minimize the risk of cyberattacks. All this will help you fill in the talent shortage gap.
Lack of Real-Time Intelligence
Cybersecurity is like a cat and mouse game. Both hackers and security professionals are trying to outdo one another. At the end of the day, the party who stays one step ahead of the other wins. That is where real-time intelligence or threat intelligence can make all the difference. Despite all the technology and tools, you can not predict a cyberattack. Hackers know that and choose the time to launch an attack when you least expect them. If you are not prepared for it, you might pay a price for it.
Rapidly Evolving Consumer Demands
Customer demands change rapidly, and businesses must adapt in order to survive and thrive. As the consumer demands new services, businesses will create new applications to fulfill their needs but how secure will these new applications be is a big question mark. Do these new applications have built-in security controls to cope up with emerging cybersecurity threats? Unfortunately, the answer is no. What’s even worse is the fact that most businesses don’t regularly test those applications or test the effectiveness of their security measures and they believe that they are safe just because they have deployed the advanced security solutions on their best dedicated servers. This makes them more complacent towards cybersecurity and they become a soft target for cyber attackers.
Last but certainly not least is control wars. All these hyperconnected infrastructures of a smart city will be managed by an authority, which can also be challenged by external players. For instance, a country might try to take control of a smart city present in its enemy country by launching state-sponsored cyberattacks on its critical infrastructure. They can target critical installations such as power grid and health care facilities and slowly bring the smart city down to its knees.
With billions of devices connecting to the internet and huge amount of data present online, it will surely grab the attention of hackers. They will hijack IoT devices and use them to launch attacks to bring down websites. Website owners need to keep their guard up and take steps to protect their websites from these attacks. Having an HTTPS website will no longer be enough, you will have to go above and beyond to secure your website.
There is no denying the fact the smart cities are the future, but it also has some cybersecurity consequences. Until we take concrete measures to curb those cybersecurity threats, smart cities will not see the light of the day. Even if they do become a reality, these harsh realities will come back to haunt its citizens.
How do these harsh realities impact the future of smart cities in your opinion? Let us know in the comments section below.