#privacy: Smart city cyber-security investment dangerously low, study finds

smart cities

New research contained in the Smart City Cybersecurity report is shining a light on the trajectories being taken by smart cities, as developers seek to address urbanisation demands with digital solutions.

The report, put together by tech market data intelligence firm, ABI Research, comes to some concerning conclusions as the global demand for stronger data privacy standards grows ever stronger.

While $135bn (€121,63bn) is predicted to come out of the public purse to fund critical infrastructural cyber-security development for smart cities worldwide by 2024, over half (56%) of this sum will be funnelled into the defence, technology and financial sectors.

That leaves 44% to be stretched over sectors including energy, healthcare, public security, water, sanitation and transport. Analysts conclude that the allocation will leave these critical fields “woefully underfunded.” As conurbations turn increasingly towards technological solutions, so IT vulnerabilities will increase, experts fear.

Industry analyst at ABI Research, Dimitrios Pavlakis, said:

“Smart cities are increasingly under attack by a variety of threats. These include sophisticated cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, bringing industrial control systems (ICS) to a grinding halt, abusing low-power wide area networks (LPWAN) and device communication hijacking, system lockdown threats caused by ransomware, manipulation of sensor data to cause widespread panic (e.g., disaster detection systems) and siphoning citizen, healthcare, consumer data and personally identifiable information (PII), among many others. In this increasingly connected technological landscape, every smart city service is as secure as its weakest link.”

“Lack of cryptographic measures, poor encryption key management, non-existent secure device on-boarding services, weaponised machine learning technologies by cyber-attackers, poor understanding of social engineering, and lack of protection versus Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are just are some of the key issues contributing to the amplification of cyber-threats in smart city ecosystems,” Pavlakis added.

“This is further exacerbated by the lack of digital security investments and will, unfortunately, jeopardise the key elements of intelligence, efficiency and sustainability of future smart city deployments,” he continued.

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