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Smart cities
Smart cities

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2.6 Cyber security

Described image
Figure 7 Investigating cyber security.

What happens when a smart city operating system goes wrong or is subject to a cyber-security attack?

One leading internet security researcher has warned that the smart cities of the future could be more vulnerable to hackers than the computers and smartphones of today (Guardian, 2015b).

With billions of additional connected devices around the globe, cyber-security challenges are quickly evolving for the internet of things. Instances of connected devices being hacked are increasingly commonplace. In the summer of 2015 car manufacturer Fiat Chrysler, for example, issued a safety recall affecting 1.4 million vehicles in the US after security researchers showed that one of its cars could be hacked (BBC News, 2015).

This is an area of increasing debate and research, and while there are some guides to addressing cyber-security issues, such as Transformational ‘Smart Cities’: Cyber Security and Resilience (Symantec, 2013) and Developing a City Strategy for Cyber Security (Microsoft Corporation, 2014), there is little information on what smart cities are actually doing to address it.

The focus tends to be on the role of city governments as the leaders of smart cities and their ICT systems, whereas we know that in reality smart cities are a much more complex landscape involving many partners and technologies.

Further reading

You might be interested in the free OpenLearn course Introduction to cyber security: stay safe online [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .