TrustPoint Blog

Security and Smart Cities

Now that the term Internet of Things has taken root in our everyday vocabulary, Smart Cities is the next concept that’s bound to get a lot of attention.

Smart Cities can take many different forms. In some cities, being smart is about offering Wi-Fi for free in public areas. It can include using wireless technology to control streetlights and signals. Sensors can be used to monitor infrastructure for issues and repair.

The drive behind the Smart City movement is to increase efficiency of connected infrastructure systems and find ways to save time, improve energy use and cut costs.

The Need for Security

Whenever you connect objects to the internet and introduce inter-connected systems, security needs to become part of the equation.

In a typical Smart City infrastructure, objects and people are connected to each other over the internet. Additional items may communicate through sensors using local radio frequency (RF) connections.

Security needs to be deployed between the objects and the internet. Most people understand and plan for that need. Devices using RF to communicate are typically not secured and may be vulnerable to malicious use.

Without securing all aspects of the network, Smart Cities become vast “attack surfaces” for hackers:

  • Signals can be spoofed to send false information about the infrastructure.
  • Systems put in place to monitor the network for problems could be rendered useless.
  • Information can be stolen, leaving residents’ privacy vulnerable.
  • The network can be hacked, resulting in the shutdown of the system, in part or even in its entirety.

The security of each piece of the system must be in place to protect the entire network. The smallest vulnerability puts the entire system at risk.

The Solution

It starts with asking the right questions. By looking at the entire system and how it connects, TrustPoint works with cities to reveal potential security holes and vulnerabilities.

Fortunately, most cities in North America are still in the planning stages for how they will build their smart city infrastructure. The cost of implementation means that cities are taking a slower and more methodical approach. This is the perfect time to ensure security is integrated into the planning.

We can’t stress this enough. Security must be implemented from the beginning and not considered as an after thought.

It’s also critical that cities rely on experts who know how to select and properly integrate security into their networks. Researchers demonstrated how a smart meter system in Europe could easily be infiltrated to cause a black out or engineered so that electricity is stolen. In this case, encryption was used, but it was not implemented correctly. The exact same key pair was used in all meters. As a result, poorly implemented security can be just as dangerous as no security at all.

Talk to us today to learn how we can help turn your city into a Smart & Secure City.

About this Blog

The TrustPoint Blog covers security industry topics relating to Certificates, Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication, Near Field Communication (NFC), Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communication, and more.

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