Future Smart Cities: are they safe from cyberattacks?


As cities get smarter through connected networks, they become more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

The umbrella term of a smart city is more than a concept, it is a dream. The smart city is a space where everything is connected to each other and is highly dependent on technologies. However, the issue here is that smart cities are short of security measures. When everything is interlinked, the stretch to encrypt and protect the city from cyberattacks falls behind putting people’s personal information at risk.

Smart city is a framework, predominantly composed of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to develop, deploy, and promote sustainable development practices to address growing urbanisation challenges. Today, 54% of people worldwide live in cities, a proportion that is expected to reach 66% by 2050. Citizens engage with smart cities ecosystems in various ways using smartphones, mobile devices, connected cars and smart home appliances. Pairing all these devices with a city’s physical infrastructure and service can cut costs and improve sustainability. People living in smart cities can improve energy distribution, streamline trash collection, decrease traffic congestion, and even improve air quality with the help of high-end technologies. The concept of smart city on an overall outlook is to provide citizens with technologies that save their time and ease their lives. It is also about connecting them to the governance where they can give feedback on improvements. As cities get smarter, they become more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. Even though when the government tries to encrypt 100% of the citizen’s personal data, it is nearly impossible to do so. Henceforth, people are ought to take simple measures in order to protect their information.

Technologies used in smart cities

Until recently, governments thought of smart technologies primarily as a tool for becoming more efficient behind the scenes. Now, technology is highly influencing people’s life in smart cities for more than that. Here are some of the futuristic technologies that are shaping the future smart cities.

Information and communication technology 

The major goal of a smart city is to have a two-way communication channel. Information and communication technology (ICT) is used to bridge the gap between citizens and government. The communication between laymen and higher authority is what makes a good nation. Smart cities are built in a considerable aspect where a normal citizen can put out his/her opinion to authorities. A big part of the ICT framework is essentially an intelligent network of connected objects and machines that transmit data using wireless technology and the cloud. The governments can further analyse the obligations and address the issue.

Geospatial technology 

Smart cities are complex when it comes to developing infrastructure. The cities should have a right plan that is sustainable and acknowledges accurate, concise and detailed data for its improvement. The handy solution to address the issue is to use geospatial technology which could help in building smart cities. Geospatial technologies provide accurate geospatial data and aids in analysing and applying the enormous amounts of data in the best way.

IoT devices

Internet of Things (IoT) plays a major role in connectivity inside smart cities. IoT devices such as connected sensors, lights, and meters can collect and analyse data for better functioning of smart cities. The gathered data is further utilised to improve infrastructure, public facilities, services, etc. Some of its features include keeping a tab on the state of traffic, improving waste recycling, maintaining the quality of water and air, accessing tele-assistance services and get immediate incident management.

Smart crime prevention

Metropolitan cities are densely populated. Henceforth, it is difficult to maintain and track down or capture a law offender. Sometimes, crimes might also go unnoticed due to lack of surveillance, action or witness. Smart cities employ technology to tackle these challenges. For example, airports, railway stations and bus stations have facial recognition technology that detects and alerts officials when it finds criminals in the crime list.

Advantages of developing a smart city

Even though when developing a smart city is a tough job that needs complete organisation of the program and heavy efforts, the advantages that follow are more than rewarding. Smart cities also stand as a sign of development drawing investments from multi-national companies across the globe. Henceforth, Analytics Insight brings you a list of advantages of developing a smart city.

Taking data-based decisions- Since smart cities gather almost all information by connectivity using IoT services, it is easy to take accurate, data-driven decisions.

Better transport facility- Smart cities are designed to tackle traffic issues and give real-time information on bus and train locations. It has improved traffic management system which makes it easy for commuters.

Safe community- Constant connectivity between citizens and government and 24×7 surveillance drastically reduces crimes. If not, it at least helps police officials to track and find the offender.

Cybersecurity issues and how to tackle them

The interconnectivity across virtual and physical infrastructure that makes a smart city work also has its downside in cybersecurity risks. Smart cities are vulnerable to numerous cyberattack techniques such as remote execution and signal jamming, malware, data manipulation and DDoS attacks. Henceforth, it is the responsibility of officials and citizens to secure their data and has encrypted systems.

Connected smart devices should be protected by comprehensive IoT security solutions. Usage of secure boot technology prevents hackers from replacing the firmware with malicious versions, thereby preventing attacks. Every time you connect your smart device connect to the network, make sure that it is authenticated before receiving or transmitting data. A lot of data is generally collected to have an overview of traffic conditions. If officials see security violations in the collected data, they should take action to formulate the overall security policy to quarantine the devices based on anomalous behaviour.

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