With everything connected in a "smart'' city, hackers need only get into one account to gain access to them all, computer experts warn.
It’s called “the grid” and it is what all of those terrorists in the movies try to take over or shut down or somehow terrorize, to the harm of millions in some American metropolis.
The goal of many municipal leaders today is to create “smart cities’’ in which all of the infrastructure and electronics and communications are working together to create a City of Tomorrow. But such city constructs are in danger of hacking, and a computer hack of a major city could bring it to a grinding halt.
All power and all communication could be compromised if a hacker or terrorist group wanted to do infrastructure damage in that way.
In order to protect the millions of Americans who could be affected, a group of security firms, including IOActive Labs, Kaspersky Lab, Bastile and the Cloud Security Alliance, have created the new Securing Smart Cities initiative to serve as a non-profit consulting service to local government officials who want to improve their city’s digital presence but keep it safe from attack at the same time.
The new Securing Smart Cities will also serve as a communication center between officials of different cities, companies, media outlets and other non-profits seeking to live in a cyber-secure environment.
“It’s only a matter of time until attacks on city services and infrastructure become common,’’ said Cesar Cerrudo, CTO of IOActive Labs and a board member for Securing Smart Cities. Cerrudo was speaking at the 2015 RSA Conference.
Cerrudo noted that when cities become “smart’’, with interconnected service departments and technologies, all a hacker needs to do is get into one system to have access to them all. Traffic signal electronics, he said, are easy to break into, and can lead a hacker to all other infrastructure back doors.
Cerrudo said the new non-profit will work with cities to make sure their software is up to date, and their list of interconnected systems is complete.
“We will help governments approach the vendors to apply technology in a safe way, help vendors to produce more secure products, and create research that will be used to identify new threats and also find solutions for all the problems that are identified,’’ Cerrudo said in a statement.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.