Securing Our Smart Cities: Why We All Need to Be Aware of the Threats Out There

Set to redefine the way we live and work, smart cities integrate IoT technologies such as virtualization, big data and cloud. Smart cities reduce the strain on the local government finances and promote sustainability through advanced, connected systems. One such example would be smart water systems in Singapore that utilize sensors to continually track the pressure, flow and quality of water within the network. This helps end-users monitor their water usage, and at the same time aids the Public Utilities Board in predicting and minimizing pipe bursts.

Despite its multitudinous perks, these vast technology systems raise major security concerns as well. Trend Micro’s blogpost, Securing Our Smart Cities: Why We All Need to Be Aware of the Threats Out There investigates where these issues lie for smart city stakeholders. As technology adoption and development continues to accelerate, it is critical that we take a step back to consider where key threats originate. Below is a quick snapshot of smart cities found across the globe:

·         Singapore: The budding nation places great reliance on data that shares behavioural feedback via sensor networks situated around the state. Its brings up privacy concerns as the community is required to hand over their personal data that lets its officials prevent crime, determine traffic density and more. With this in mind, are Singaporeans truly at ease with this should hackers get access to government systems?
·         South Korea: Songdo International Business District (IBD) is the world’s first smart city. It was built from the ground up with the aid of smart technologies, its residents own  smart card house keys that also serve as a means to pay for subway transportation and parking meter fees, watch films, and more. As with anything involving the Internet of Things (IoT), especially on this scale, it is a matter of weighing convenience and privacy.
·         Japan: The nation has implemented home energy management (HEM) systems that optimizes the use of in-house energy through real-time data, resulting in increased energy and grid security. Based on a report by the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation, data security is not assured in such a system. So what happens when demand-response command is manipulated?
·         China: The country is well set to accomplish the goals of its Vision 2025 plan, with its Chengdu smart city placing the nation at the forefront of industrial automation. Urban planners in China have initiated an Urban Data Lab to collect government information, existing urban plans, mobile phone metadata from carriers, and behavioral data from location-based services, that brings up concerns of sensitive data abuse.

For more information on security concerns regarding smart cities, you can read more about them in this blogpost.
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