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Smart City Security

Smart cities are the wave of the future in terms of technology. To run cities, we are increasingly reliant on computer-aided administration.

Energy, transportation, and utilities are just a few of the issues that smart city technology addresses. Resource consumption and waste are reduced as a result of the use of this technology, which lowers costs. The goal of a smart city is to improve the quality of life of the people who live there by implementing intelligent technology in their daily lives.

Importance of Security in Smart City

The success of a smart city is dependent on the level of security provided. Because of the involvement of numerous technologies and the interconnection of various networks and components, security can be a difficult problem to solve. Different types of cyber-attacks will continue to be launched against the smart city. Phishing, malicious code, website intrusions, distributed denial of service attacks, and social engineering are just a few examples of these types of attacks.

Engineers and architects must incorporate security measures into the design of the smart city from the beginning of the process. Every step of the development lifecycle, from conception to completion, must be secure. Every level of the smart city must address vulnerabilities to prevent the severe consequences that could put the entire smart city at risk.

In the absence of adequate security controls in place, the technology that the smart city supports will continue to operate normally, and the people will continue to benefit from the services that the smart city provides.

Attackers can cause significant damage, and in some cases, they can even cause death. An attack on traffic signal systems, food distribution systems, hospital systems, and transportation systems could result in irreversible damage to the infrastructure.

The security challenge for smart cities

The security of sensor hubs is one of the security challenges that smart cities must contend with. Weather, air quality, traffic, radiation, and water levels are among the variables monitored by the sensors. Traffic and street lights, security systems, and emergency alerts are just a few examples of how they can be used to automatically inform vital services. Hackers may gain access to sensors and manipulate critical data if they are not patched.

An example of this is a recent attack on a commercial irrigation system in Israel, which was carried out by terrorists. Hackers were able to remotely control the water system, turning it on and off. Attacks like this pose a significant threat to the smart city water system, and they have the potential to result in the reservoir being completely depleted overnight.

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Bugs pose a significant security threat to smart cities, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. They create security holes that can be exploited by hackers to gain access to Smart City systems. Malicious software commands can be inserted into a computer by exploiting software bugs, allowing a hacker to gain unauthorized access to a computer.

Another security concern is the openness of the internet, which is something that most smart cities rely on. If the Internet is not adequately protected, it can pose a threat to everything that is connected to it.

Authentication bypassing may also prove to be a difficult task. This attack enables hackers to gain access to internal administrative areas of the smart city that should not be accessible to them without the need to enter a password, a feature that was previously unavailable.
SQL injection is also becoming a growing source of concern. Attackers send data between the application and the database through the application’s communication channel. Hackers use this method to force the device to perform actions that endanger the security of the smart city as a whole. Furthermore, IoT crawlers such as Shodan and Censys pose a security risk to smart city components by collecting data from them.

Attacks involving social engineering pose a significant threat to smart cities. Attacks using social engineering are the most significant threat to the Internet of Things – the components that make up the smart city. When an attacker successfully deceives a user into performing an action that will cause a breach in a system’s information security, the attack is successful.

The effects of social engineering attacks can also result in physical impacts like:

  • The effects of social engineering attacks may have physical consequences, such as the disruption and damage of the train and tram signaling systems, which could result in an accident.
  • Damage to the water distribution system results in water wastage.
  • Damage to a nuclear power plant
  • Manufacturing plants are being destroyed.
  • Phishing attacks on smart cities have increased in recent years. Phishing attacks are directed at email users to capture the user’s credentials. Hackers can use the information gathered to gain access to smart city systems and use them for malicious purposes in the future. There will be further advancements in the techniques and technologies used in phishing. These technologies can manipulate things such as tire pressure alerts, gas leakage, and so on.
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Ways to make smart cities secure

Securing a Smart city is fraught with numerous obstacles to overcome. The implementation of appropriate risk mitigation measures, on the other hand, can be successful.

Security practices

Smart cities are comprised of a plethora of devices, many of which are produced by a variety of manufacturers. The task of patch management is therefore difficult. Each manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that their products are secure and that software patches are released as quickly as possible. However, it is the user’s responsibility to ensure that they are following good security hygiene practices.

When a security breach occurs, a smart city should have controls in place as well as standard operating procedures in place. The procedures should be designed to identify the breach, contain the attack, and restore the affected systems to normal operation.

Common issues

To avoid common security pitfalls, it is necessary to take some basic security precautions. Users should change their default passwords to make them more unique and difficult to guess. It is important to enforce policies to ensure that passwords are strong. For security operations centers to be effective, they must be established to monitor security, mitigate vulnerabilities, and respond to attacks.

Software updates on time

All software that is used in a smart city should be kept up to date regularly. There should be a system administrator whose responsibilities include making sure that all software is up to date to prevent hackers from exploiting known vulnerabilities. a system administrator All firewalls and antivirus programs should be updated regularly.

Proper security framework

A smart city’s complexity makes it difficult to keep track of all of its constituent parts and components. There could be thousands of connected devices spread out over a large area of land covering many square miles. However, with the use of a proper framework, the task can be completed.

Among the features of a useful framework will be automated checks for software updates and security patches.

Security Best Practices

The smart city’s security team must adhere to industry standards when it comes to information security. These are the ones:

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Implementation of IT address restrictions on who can connect to the smart city devices, as well as who can connect to them. Even when the system is connected to the public internet, the smart city network should be protected from intrusion.

The use of ethical hackers for penetration testing

The implementation of enhanced network security rules to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive systems, as well as the use of secure password practices.
Access controls should be in strict place.
Disable any unnecessary systems, as well as anything that isn’t currently in operation. Hackers will be unable to access remote administration features and ports if they are disabled.
The use of security incident and event management tools to scan network activities and identify suspicious internet traffic will aid in the prevention and detection of an attack.
The use of ethical hackers for penetration testing is becoming more popular.
As the smart city becomes more secure, ethical hackers will become increasingly important. To ensure that the security of the smart city is intact and that no hacker can use hacking methods to gain access to the smart city, he or she is tasked with testing the security of the smart city. He can research all of the new technologies that are emerging and ensure that the smart city is updated to keep up with the latest trends in the market, if necessary.

Cyber-crime laws

It is necessary to impose severe penalties to deter attacks on the smart city.

Conclusion

As the world continues to become more interconnected, the threat of terrorism grows in importance. Furthermore, criminals and hackers are improving their abilities and leveraging new technologies, which is making the situation worse.

Because of this, smart city security should be prioritized, and security experts should be brought in early in the design process to ensure a successful outcome. Furthermore, the standardization of the Internet of Things devices is essential.
Everyone involved in the development of smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT) must collaborate and share responsibility for security-related issues. Working together and with a common goal in mind towards the realization of secure IoT will be a significant step forward in the direction of a better future that is protected from unauthorized access.

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Evangeline Christina is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cyberspecial.net. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter in a reputed news agency.