New report offers security guidelines on adopting smart city technology

The connectivity of smart cities – combined with the huge amount of data they generate and use – brings potential security risks. And the impact if smart city technology becomes compromised could be significant, affecting thousands or even millions of people.

To help cities address these risks, the Securing Smart Cities initiative and the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) have published guidelines and best practices on implementing Internet of Things (IoT) and smart city technologies.

Technology makes things easier for governments to manage a city and provide a better service, said Cesar Cerrudo, Securing Smart Cities board member, in an interview with future-focused website Motherboard. But at the same time if they are not secure it makes easier for attackers to cause a big mess to a city.

The new guide provides public and private organisations with an overview of the key elements needed in order to implement the best technological solutions with reduced risk and exposure to cyber threats. It offers advice on planning and organising the selection and validation of smart city technologies, and describes the types of testing and assessments that can be used to choose the best and most secure vendors and technologies.

Brian Russell, co-chair of the CSA IoT Working Group and chief engineer for Cyber Security Solutions at Lidos, said that smart cities are leading the way towards the adoption of IoT technologies that will connect widespread sensors through the cloud to harvest relevant data and automate decision-making processes.

Such capabilities offer the potential to enhance citizen safety, streamline and improve customer services and reduce overall expenditures, but this new connectivity and intelligence also introduces risk, he warned.

Technology is already at the core of our cities as the world becomes more connected and it’s extremely important that it is well protected and secure if we don’t want to end up in chaos, added Cerrudo, who also serves as chief technology officer for IOActive. These guidelines we have put together are a useful and practical resource for organisations around the world to achieve secure technology adoption and to make cities more secure.

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