smart city security (By Shaynepplstockphoto/


Report: Securing smart cities

What: “Securing Smart Cities,” a paper by researchers at Trend Micro.

Why: The increased number of internet connections in smart city technologies also increases the attack surface for hackers. Those attacks can compromise user data, disrupt city services and hold systems for ransom.

Findings: The paper describes the smart technologies used in smart cities and outlines a few steps that can make the technology more secure:

  • Test regularly. Before a technology is put into the field it should be pen tested by an independent contractor. Regular quality assurance testing is also recommended.
  • Update often. Once a technology is deployed, it should be updated when the manufacturer releases updates. “Both municipalities and vendors must make sure that updates are delivered in a secure manner -- encrypted and digitally signed -- to ensure software integrity,” the paper reads. Updates won’t continue forever, and cities should plan for vendor support to end.
  • Confirm privacy. Data collected from cameras and smart devices should be anonymized and encrypted to avoid “eavesdropping, interception, and modification” of data.
  • Ensure continuity of service. A cyberattack should never shut down city services, so cities should consider manual overrides for automated systems and backup systems for some utilities.

Read the full paper here.  

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a reporter/producer at GCN.

Before joining GCN, Leonard worked as a local reporter for The Smithfield Times in southeastern Virginia. In his time there he wrote about town council meetings, local crime and what to do if a beaver dam floods your back yard. Over the last few years, he has spent time at The Commonwealth Times, The Denver Post and WTVR-CBS 6. He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received the faculty award for print and online journalism.

Leonard can be contacted at or follow him on Twitter @Matt_Lnrd.

Click here for previous articles by Leonard.

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