IT security at the core of smart cities

Issue 7 2022 Information Security, Infrastructure, Government and Parastatal (Industry)

Wandile Gumede.
Wandile Gumede.

South Africa is currently in the process of developing smart cities, one in Gauteng and one in the Eastern Cape. More will surely follow as this is the future of living, where technology and connectivity are deeply ingrained in the processes of daily life.

From service delivery and public access to universal Wi-Fi, to home automation and smart sensors for city parking, technology will play a central role in smart cities. However, with this comes a need for increased IT security.

Smart cities already exist in Asia, Europe and America. Shanghai is noted as the premier smart city at the moment, followed by Seoul, Barcelona, Beijing and New York. These cities have committed to digitalised transport, infrastructure, energy, waste management and urban development.

This is already transforming the standard of living, but revolutionary cybersecurity is needed to protect these digital systems from all sorts of threats. This will also be the case in South Africa. The government will look to partner with credible IT service providers that can offer future-forward IT security solutions and digital services for smart cities.

IT security risks with smart cities

A recent report has speculated that the interconnected systems required by smart cities could result in a “cascading failure across key city systems” if they are hacked or breached by cybercriminals. This could be extremely expensive and disruptive to the entire city, so IT security systems will need to be highly advanced and ‘always on’.

The report also found that many existing smart cities need to prioritise cybersecurity measures; if not, they are exposing themselves to cyberattacks that could cripple healthcare services, cause traffic accidents and halt the local economy. The risks are always present but become far more possible with the lack of IT security improvement and implementation.

Ransomware is probably the main threat to smart cities; holding key systems to ransom in return for massive sums of money will be a large motivating factor for cybercriminals. However, if IT security is placed at the forefront of city planning, then these risks are greatly reduced and can even be completely prevented.

IT security professionals should partner with third-party providers to ensure that all areas of cybersecurity are accounted for in smart cities. Having additional sets of eyes will always yield better results when it comes to these systems.

Smart city investment on two fronts

As a result, the development of smart cities in South Africa will require investment on two fronts. One would be channelling funds into the interconnected digital systems and actual infrastructure of the city; the other would be into IT security and the granular-level IT architecture, or the backend of the smart city.

Government IT departments are generally very capable and up to date with the latest in security systems. By collaborating with managed service providers, governments and smart city leaders will ensure a well-rounded service for residents and businesses.

Now is the time to ingrain cybersecurity into the fabric of city living for the future. By recognising the risks and possible points of failure, city planners and leaders can prevent cyber threats before they become a reality.





Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Deception technology crucial to unmasking data theft
Information Security Security Services & Risk Management
The ‘silent theft’ of data is an increasingly prevalent cyber threat to businesses, driving the ongoing leakage of personal information in the public domain through undetected attacks that cannot even be policed by data privacy legislation.

Read more...
Data security and privacy in global mobility
Security Services & Risk Management Information Security
Data security and privacy in today’s interconnected world is of paramount importance. In the realm of global mobility, where individuals and organisations traverse borders for various reasons, safeguarding sensitive information becomes an even more critical imperative.

Read more...
Sophos celebrates partners and cybersecurity innovation at annual conference
News & Events Information Security
[Sponsored] Sun City hosted Sophos' annual partner event this year, which took place from 12 to 14 March. Sophos’ South African cybersecurity distributors and resellers gathered for an engaging two-day conference.

Read more...
The CIPC hack has potentially serious consequences
Editor's Choice Information Security
A cyber breach at the South African Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) has put millions of companies at risk. The organisation holds a vast database of registration details, including sensitive data like ID numbers, addresses, and contact information.

Read more...
Navigating South Africa's cybersecurity regulations
Sophos Information Security Infrastructure
[Sponsored] Data privacy and compliance are not just buzzwords; they are essential components of a robust cybersecurity strategy that cannot be ignored. Understanding and adhering to local data protection laws and regulations becomes paramount.

Read more...
AI augmentation in security software and the resistance to IT
Security Services & Risk Management Information Security
The integration of AI technology into security software has been met with resistance. In this, the first in a series of two articles, Paul Meyer explores the challenges and obstacles that must be overcome to empower AI-enabled, human-centric decision-making.

Read more...
Milestone Systems joins CVE programme
Milestone Systems News & Events Information Security
Milestone Systems has partnered with the Common Vulnerability and Exposures (CVE) Programme as a CVE Numbering Authority (CNA), to assist the programme to find, describe, and catalogue known cybersecurity issues.

Read more...
Access & identity expectations for 2024
Technews Publishing IDEMIA ZKTeco Gallagher Salto Systems Africa Regal Distributors SA Reditron Editor's Choice Access Control & Identity Management Information Security AI & Data Analytics
What does 2024 have in store for the access and identity industry? SMART Security Solutions asked several industry players for their brief thoughts on what they expect this year.

Read more...
Prepare for cyber-physical attacks
Gallagher Information Security Access Control & Identity Management
As the security landscape continues to evolve, organisations must fortify their security solutions to embrace the changing needs of the security and technology industries. Nowhere is this more present than with regard to cybersecurity.

Read more...
Zero Trust and user fatigue
Access Control & Identity Management Information Security
Paul Meyer, Security Solutions Executive, iOCO OpenText, says implementing Zero Trust and enforcing it can create user fatigue, which only leads to carelessness and a couldn’t care attitude.

Read more...