Understanding Cybersecurity Framework for Smart Cities

    cybersecurity in smart cities

    With our lives changing by time and year, there’s a need to build a more modern city that should be far ahead of modern-day construction, enhancing the ease of living while providing the best possible transportation, emergency services, and next-level security. We shall discuss the key challenges of implementing stringent cyber security in smart cities in this blog.

    Before Moving Ahead, Let’s Look at Some Key Features of a Smart City

    • State-of-the-art infrastructure, including parks and well-maintained roads.
    • Adequate water, Gas and Electricity supply
    • Public information systems should be present.
    • Proper waste management, energy management, and skill development centers are present.
    • A centralized center to manage things like emergency services, CCTV surveillance, and more.

    What are the Challenges of integrating solid Cybersecurity in Smart Cities?

    Every city faces challenges that are similar or different from each other. These challenges arise due to problems in governance and other reasons.

    In a smart city, the challenges differ from a normal city. Cybercrime often plagues smart cities, which can be related to any virtual intrusion done into the security and maintenance systems of the city.

    The concept of developing a cybersecurity framework in a smart city is new and is evolving with the rise of such smart concepts, which are based on technology, invention, and innovation.

    But, when a server connects all things within a smart city with centralization, the risk of a cyber-attack is that much more potent.

    Majorly, cybercriminals easily hack and misuse the system that is present within a smart city consisting of sensors, CCTV, and meters.

    Additional Challenges of Implementing Cybersecurity in Smart Cities:

    This can lead to faulty transportation, electricity, and water supply services to the houses and offices present within the perimeter of the smart city.

    If hacked, the presence of personnel who can take care of such things is very low, which can thereby lead to chaos in the city.

    The manufacturers and vendors that make and supply such sensors and other types of equipment in a smart city project are unaware of such cyber practices that hackers do.

    If the hacker can get into the system of any organization present in the city, he may steal the data and ask for ransom.

    Such Ransomware cases are very common nowadays around the world, making it an easy way for hackers to earn a lot of money.

    If a cyber-attack happens on the central server of the smart city, then it can create many loopholes in the system due to which more attacks are possible in the future.

    Citizens’ data is also present in such systems.

    Attacks can also happen if the city operators do not implement security measures properly. All centralized devices, whether small or large, should come under the security of the city.

    Some of the Cyberattacks which took place at large scale:

    • Power Grid attack in Ukraine – It affected nearly half a million people.
    • Ransomware attack on San Francisco Railway.
    • Water system attack in Kemuri.
    • Hackers attacked alarms, leading to a false emergency siren, which created unnecessary panic in Dallas.
    • An attack on Sweden’s traffic monitoring system affected its transportation largely.

    These cyber-attacks are proof that smart cities around the world are prone to such cyber-attacks, and hackers can cause massive destruction, which can affect the entire city.

    The hackers can misuse all the services that have internet connections within the city.

    Attackers are very clever; they know where to attack and at what time.

    They keep searching for loopholes in every smart city due to a lack of cryptographic measures taken by management and builders.

    This poor management and installation of non-secured devices across the city can make them vulnerable to attacks.

    Main Steps to Develop a Cybersecurity Framework:

    Smart city developers should consider developing cybersecurity strategies that can overcome the challenges faced by other cities, and these strategies are made keeping in mind the cyber-attacks to which the city is vulnerable.

    The data present at the centralized data center in the city should be encrypted in such a way that it asks for two-way authentication if someone tries to access it.

    Policies should be drafted, keeping in mind the security measures and the minimum quality standards for the sensors and other devices that are being installed in the smart city.

    The decision-makers should assess the city’s cyber assets and create a proper cybersecurity plan.

    The smart city also needs a cyber data governance approach towards all the technological components present on the premises.

    This can be done by connecting to similar cities and other cybersecurity agencies. Policies and technology should be aligned so that they can work in accordance.

    The management of smart cities should also keep in mind some handy tricks that can protect them in case of a cyberattack.

    Cybersecurity tips in smart cities:

    • Developing a backup plan is important and will be beneficial in case of an emergency.
    • Feedback sessions with the residents of the city to ensure the smart and smooth functioning of the city.
    • Developing strategies and other important policies regarding passwords.
    • Encryption with complex algorithms is important for city networks
    •  Setting up the WPA2 protocol can secure devices that run on Wi-Fi technology.
    • A firewall is a must for protecting a system. It should be applied at every place where the transaction is going to happen.
    • Always create an alert in case some breach happens.
    • Providing training to the developers present in the cybersecurity team within the city.
    • Get approval from the cybersecurity agency or an organization approved by the government before setting up cybersecurity codes and devices that run on it.
    • Define rules for everyone and make everyone aware of cybercrimes.


    Cyber-attacks can happen at any time, but in the coming future, let’s say 5 to 10 years from now, we will be able to see a city free of such crimes.

    The city will be mature enough to handle complex technologies that might seek security. Therefore, while aiming for a technologically advanced society, cybersecurity in smart cities is a must.

    As of now, the setup cost of devices present in a smart city is high due to which many developers use cheap quality devices and ignore the vulnerability.

    A good security platform is a major requirement to keep such cities safe.

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