Smart cities seem inevitable. According to IDC, Smart City initiatives attracted technology investments of more than $81 billion globally in 2018, and spending is estimated to grow to $158 billion in 2022. Similarly, in 2018, the number of major metropolitan cities relying on or developing a comprehensive smart city plan--as opposed to implementing a few innovative projects without an overall smart plan--dramatically increased.
In the US, for example cities like Philadelphia, Newark and Chicago all have goals to upgrade and to become leading 'SMART' cities, while UK innovation is being spearheaded by major conurbations such as Bristol, London and Manchester.
A significant investment is being made by cities in data connectivity providing a number of new technologies such as Wi-Fi 6, smart grid, and IoT sensor devices, all promising to enhance overall visibility and security. However, as we extend the reach of technology and connectivity, there will increasingly be cyber-risks to take into account. As part of their transformation, smart cities serve as a technology hub and gateway to major institutions such as banks, hospitals, universities, law enforcement agencies, and utilities. This means the storage and transmission of customer data such as social security numbers, addresses, credit card information, and other sensitive data, is a potential goldmine for malicious actors. Not to mention an increasing number of projects monitoring roads, traffic, traffic light and metro services, all of which must be kept secure from threats at all times.
When connectivity and innovation meet such large city infrastructures, they immediately become vulnerable to cyber threats from malicious actors waiting to bring all that hard work to a standstill. And, the routes in are manifold.
We are increasingly dealing with connected versions of devices that have existed for a long time, such as CCTV cameras, and as a consequence, digital security is not very often incorporated into their designs.
In addition, cybersecurity will have to extend far past personal, or internal corporate networks, to encompass far-ranging technological protection for vast city networks at a scale and a pace many are struggling to respond to.
Moreover, the sheer volume of data being collected and transmitted across a multi-user network, with numerous locations, can be extremely challenging to protect. London's City Hall Datastore, for example, holds over 700 sets of...