Navigant Research forecasts that Smart City technology market will represent over $20 billion in 2020. In line with this explosive growth, investment in more complex technologies will be significant, but as always, with increased technology comes greater vulnerability.
One of the major security concerns facing Smart Cities is an “APT” (Advanced Persistent Threat). These are targeted attacks (such as malware) executed by a hacker or group of hackers, motivated not by financial gain, but instead by political gain or “hacktivism.”
As a city’s framework and infrastructure become increasingly technology-depended, IT security must work hard in the frontlines looking out for suspicious activities and abnormal behaviour.
Measures are especially needed to protect the weakest link in the city’s IT infrastructure – the endpoints and end-user devices, to ensure compliance enforcement of security policies and standards.
In Smart Cities, everything is connected, from local government, utilities, financial and transactional services to transport and emergency services. A cyber attack can create a domino effect, where many of the operations dependent on that service would malfunction or simply shut down.
Such attacks can work in hidden mode and take down the most crucial components of the city’s infrastructure, placing the entire city at risk of complete standstill or worst.
Such an instance of multiple city services malfunctioning simultaneously would at the very least result in a failure of the economic infrastructure for 48 hours or more. It is hard to imagine the consequences, with the loss of every economic transaction and the time needed to replace the damaged infrastructure, while trying to maintain law and order.
The costs and impact would be huge and not only in financial terms, but also in the long-term loss of confidence; the image of the smart city would suffer making the same level of future adoption hard to recoup.