With cities entering the digital era by introducing the smart city concept, local governments need to worry about new security problems. Smart Cities are integrating the use of Internet of Things (IoT) and interconnecting devices into their existing technology infrastructure. This enables the possibility to bring an entire community online. However, at the same time, it can make a smart city more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Digitalization in Smart Cities

The use of digitalization simplifies the data acquisition for smart cities and enables the possibility to have more insight on everyday living. However, at the same time, smart city networks have the potential to be breached by malevolent intruders. This is a risk that needs to be taken into consideration when entering the digital space. An example is how in Ukraine, hackers were able to target a power grid. This enabled them to take an entire city’s substations offline and leaving thousands of residents without power. This provides an insight into how the new digital developments can bring along new risks for the smart cities. In fact, it can disrupt the security of a smart city.

Cities are entering their journey towards a more digital future. Therefore, smart city projects involving traffic lights, power grids, emergency systems and etc., are becoming more common. This on its own turn, brings along an added risk of disrupting the city’s cyber security. Therefore, local governments need to prioritize the city’s cyber security protocols to avoid attacks. By focusing on the cyber security protocols of their city, the local governments are able to better protect their communities.

Protecting Smart Cities Against Cyber-attack

More cities are integrating the use of IoT devices into their smart city projects. Therefore, cybersecurity is something that needs to be in the atop the list of the local governments. Many local governments in smart cities are facing a big challenge when it comes to cybersecurity. A big part of this challenge is created due to the shortage of dedicated professionals.

Many governments have already developed their cyber security plan as a response to possible danger scenarios. However, many of these governments still lack IT departments that have security experts. This increased the struggle faced by local governments in fighting against cyber crime. Entering the new digital era is bringing along the challenge of how local governments can improve their security approaches. Furthermore, many cities are also facing danger in the security of their smart city due to the use of outdated technologies. The risk can already be increased by the use of poorly protected office computer networks.

The Importance of Infrastructure for a Good Security

To enable local governments to fight possible cyber attacks on their smart cities, it is important they focus on building a strong infrastructure. Before implementing the use of IoT devices, it is important that the local governments create a stable response protocol and disaster recovery plan for worst-case scenarios. This will help the local governments to protect smart cities in case of eventual cyberattacks. Furthermore, these plans should include additional layers of security that can help them mitigate the fallout from a cyber attack on one system and ensure that the associated systems continue to function. Local governments need to think of incorporating end-to-end encryption, use of blockchain technology or deploying decentralized applications. These are strategies that should be considered by local governments to ensure the safety of their smart cities.

Furthermore, the use of artificial intelligence is also a useful tool for detecting anomalies in a smart city network. The use of artificial intelligence enables the possibility to process huge volumes of data quickly. This helps to reduce the time it takes to identify and negate threats. However, it is also important that the public sector routinely tests the security system for eventual loopholes. This enables the possibility to fix the possible encountered problems before they incur any cyber attack.

Cybersecurity can be seen as a big challenge for local governments. This can bring along challenges for most tech-savvy government staff, often putting them in relatively unfamiliar territory. To successfully protect smart cities, local governments need to consider partnering with tech firms for their integration expertise. This will provide better opportunities to integrate APIs, cloud computing, data and essential security measures.

Conclusion

As smart cities are becoming part of our reality, local governments need to take new challenges in consideration. The integration of digitalization in cities has brought new challenges to local governments and is bringing new threats. Therefore, it is important that local governments make security plans to protect their cities in case of eventual cyberattacks. This is a necessary measure as cities need to protect not only their systems but the data of their communities. Therefore, it is important that local governments create plans to face this new reality. By being well prepared for eventual cyber attacks local governments will decrease possible harm.