Have you heard about “smart cities”? It’s not what you think, it’s not a smart phone or smart home that you are familiar with. One of the benefits of these cities is their ability to use different communications methods to integrate key industries and infrastructure in a manner that generates growth and also benefits everyone living there. As an example, London contributes about a third of all taxes paid in the United Kingdom. This is one of the reasons that these cities become targets for large-scale malicious cyberattacks. A single attack would have widespread implications for any city involved. As an example of it, in March last year, a cyberattack on poorly secured public computer systems in Atlanta which is a city known for its investment in smart applications, managed to shut down many of the city’s functions. Some of these implications lasted for months. Although Atlanta has managed to recover from this attack, it has cost the city $10 million and its effects are still felt.

The issue doesn’t stop there, as the age of technology, in 2019, more cities are becoming established as smart, which will result in urban environment being even more vulnerable to attacks. One of the technologies that is being used in smart cities are Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Even these technologies are not cyber secure. One of the problems for smart cities is the fact that they use smart sensors but most of these wireless sensors that are used in public domain are relatively cheap and do not have built in security architecture.



Another problem that arises with IoT systems is the fact that these systems are increasingly interconnected with each other and with the global internet which evidently means that access to one can mean access to many. Such level of complex global connectivity increases the risk of attacks for any smart city.

As it has been seen in cases such as Atlanta, a cyberattack can lead to not only big disruptions for businesses but for small daily life too. These examples have forced the administrators of cities to understand more comprehensively both the opportunities and risks that emerge from the available technologies. This action has forged a partnership with public sector which has a significant role in conducting risk assessments and also has much to lose in case of a cyberattack on their systems architecture.

These collaborations are being seen more and more between local and municipal governments, which has created a lot of career prospects for cybersecurity specialists and future thinking IT professionals. In a world that talks about cybersecurity is on every news channel and cyberattacks happen all around us, simple security measures are still overlooked. Having weak passwords or no passwords on the networks are still very common which is one of the many issues that consumers of IoT are facing in the market.  With all the examples of attacks and the implications and costs that are involved with it, governments as well as businesses are investing more on their cyber security as ever seen before. This has opened up education routes for people with new courses on cyber security coming to the market all the time and getting individuals ready and prepared for a lucrative career in IT security.

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