Read on to explore Smart City vulnerabilities in this primer.
Smart cities use data from high-level technology like the Internet of Things (IoT) to allow people living in them to experience improved safety and environmental cleanliness. These urban areas also use IoT devices to fulfill citizen needs and improve service delivery efficiency.
Despite the level of connectivity and security, smart cities are prone to several dangers, one of which is cybersecurity risks. However, reasonable safety measures can prevent potential attacks. Below are five vulnerabilities smart cities are susceptible to.
1. Data Compromise
Information systems with insufficient security measures are susceptible to assaults that result in data leaks. These breaches may involve protected health information and personally identifiable information with disastrous results. Smart cities must take cyber risks that threaten the privacy, authenticity, reliability, safety, and resilience of information assets that can result in significant cyberattacks seriously.
2. Denial of Service Attack
An Internet-connected host’s services may be temporarily or permanently interrupted in a denial of service (DDoS) attack, which aims to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users. To accomplish this, a target receives many unnecessary requests to obstruct the fulfillment of valid ones.
It’s difficult to stop a distributed DDoS assault by blocking one source because the incoming traffic comes from multiple sources. Parking meters are among the smart city devices hackers can take over and join a botnet that aims to overwhelm a system by sending numerous service requests.
3. Device Hijack
Attackers frequently attempt to take over a device to gain control due to the millions of gadgets that make up a smart city’s infrastructure. Users may not be aware someone has hijacked their device because its functioning has stayed the same.
Once in charge, a hacker may use additional networked devices for their gain. For instance, they may use innovative meters to endanger a city’s energy management system with ransomware or steal electricity from a municipality.
4. Permanent Denial of Service
It isn’t just consumer data and devices that may be targeted in smart cities; there is also a risk of attacks on critical infrastructure such as utilities, internet providers, and public safety. Permanent denial of service attacks, sometimes called phlashing, are used by cybercriminals who want to inflict persistent harm. In this attack, they damage hardware — such as traffic surveillance cameras, hospital equipment, and more — so severely that the city must replace it entirely, burdening communities with downtime, maintenance expenses, and the need to buy new equipment.
5. Surveillance System Risks
Security technology and smart cities go together. However, even with the most substantial technological safeguards, having under-trained personnel and inefficient procedures can be dangerous and result in cyberattacks. Emergency and security alert systems are the most susceptible and have the most potential for a substantial impact in the case of a cyber assault.
How Smart Cities Can Combat Vulnerabilities
Many cybersecurity measures can protect smart cities from cyber attacks. One of the significant measures that city managers can adopt is IoT security solutions that safeguard these urban areas from potential dangers.
Since digitization gives IoT networks additional intelligence for development and operational purposes, smart devices represent an incredible opportunity for value creation in this sector. Below are ways smart cities can protect themselves from security breaches.
1. Two-Factor Authentication
Before receiving or sending information, a user should perform authentication each time they connect a smart city device to the network. Doing this ensures the data came from a reliable source, not a malicious one. Secure mutual authentication — which requires device and service entities to verify one other’s identities — aids in defending against malicious attacks.
2. Security System Analysis
Smart cities can gather information on a system’s general condition, including connectivity traffic and network adapters. Then, this data goes through examination to look for potential security flaws or system dangers. Security officers should take a wide range of responses after detection — such as quarantining devices based on suspicious activity — as part of an overall system security policy.
3. Continuous Security Management
Service providers can manage the security features of IoT devices while they are in use, thanks to the lifecycle management function. During cyber attack recovery, rapid device key replacement over the air assures less service interruption. Additionally, secure device decommissioning ensures obsolete equipment won’t be reused and used illegally to access a service.
Smart cities can also help prevent physical threats, as well. Aside from attackers posing a physical danger to people, many cyber attacks also start with a physical element, such as plugging in an unknown flash drive, gaining physical access to a restricted computer, or theft. Smart cities can identify trends in traffic throughout common areas, allowing security teams to provide the necessary staffing and helping to determine what threats to watch for.
4. Secure Boot Technology
Secure boot technology helps stop assaults by prohibiting hackers from updating firmware with dangerous versions. Sadly, this technology is not available on all IoT chipsets. To prevent the firmware from being replaced with malicious instruction sets in such a situation, it’s crucial to make sure the IoT device can only communicate with authorized services.
Smart City Vulnerabilities – Final Thoughts
Smart cities are exciting, but they also have significant system vulnerabilities hackers can use against them. Technology increases a city’s susceptibility to cyberattacks, making the most high-tech cities prime targets. It would be reckless not to take proactive measures to strengthen security and defend against breaches, given that attacks on city facilities and services are unavoidable.