Is cybersecurity for smart cities being dangerously underestimated?

As governments around the globe barrel headlong into the smart city wave, cybersecurity experts are raising the alarm about the proliferation of unsecured technology.  This is from a recent Trustwave study that surveyed 203 information security experts working with local and state governments in the U.S.

See also: Dyn DDoS attack shows the weaknesses on the new IoT world

In the survey 23% of respondents said that cities didn’t properly understand the cyber risks of smart city technology.

Nearly one third of experts said cities were failing to allocate the appropriate budgetary support to properly secure smart city tech. The same number of those surveyed said that political wrangling led to interference with local decision-making over security relating to smart city initiatives.

In other areas 27% of those surveyed identified publicly run WiFi networks as the area most at risk to hackers, followed by 19% who saw smart grids as most vulnerable.

Further to these nearly 13% said that traffic systems were most at risk for a security breach, with 11% citing security cameras as vulnerable to hacking.

“Municipalities are dazzled by the promises of the Industrial Internet of Things, which can bring cost savings and improved efficiency,” said Rekha Shenoy from Tripwire’s parent company, Belden. “However, the dazzle will wear off quickly if smart city initiatives can’t keep up with new threats, regulatory requirements and hidden costs.”

“In order to succeed, smart cities must actively protect their critical infrastructure,” she concludes.

Smart City IoT devices have let us down recently

Smart city projects are frequently driven by mass deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices. However, it has been revealed that many of these devices come equipped with little or no security measures.

In a recent example, Kaspersky Labs found a large number of connected speeding cameras deployed in smart city initiatives were easily hackable.

They suspected many cities are deploying IoT devices to jump on the smart city bandwagon without fully examining how secure the technology is.

“Even in not so smart cities, those devices are already processing gigabytes of citizens’ data and unfortunately are not always secure enough to defend against third parties set on manipulating them,” said the Kaspersky researchers.

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