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By: Ze’eva Kushner
As you sit in traffic, frustrated and wondering why the city or municipality cannot do something to ease congestion, know that a city’s use of internet-connected technology to make your commute better may also invite hackers to wreak havoc on your city.
Traffic is just one of many problems that “smart cities” use internet-connected technology to address. A smart city can set up an array of sensors and integrate their data to monitor things like air quality, water levels, radiation, and the electrical grid. That data then can be used to automatically inform fundamental services like traffic and street lights and emergency alerts.
Smart city technology provides many benefits to city management, including connectivity and ease of management. However, these very same features make the technology an attractive target for hackers. In a recently released white paper, IBM revealed 17 vulnerabilities in smart city systems around the world. Some of these risks were as simple as failing to change default passwords that could be guessed easily, bugs that could allow an attacker to inject malicious software commands, and others that would allow an attacker to sidestep authentication checks. Additionally, use of the open internet rather than an internal city network to connect sensors or relay data to the cloud presents an opportunity for hackers.
Atlanta is an example of a smart city that is attempting to improve its efficiency by employing smart city technology, with its focus being mobility, public safety, environment, city operations efficiency, and public and business engagement. Atlanta knows all too well how crippling a hack can be, as it suffered from the ransomware attack in the Spring that kept residents from services such as paying their water bills or traffic tickets online. The hacking threat to smart cities is real and significant.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Ze’eva Kushner at [email protected].