Opinion

Smart City and related Cyber Security Concerns In India

Smart cities are the future of urbanization and population sustainability. The aim of smart cities is to provide a conducive environment for living, commercial activities, healthcare, and overall development.

That said, everything comes with some trade-offs; One of the biggest concerns about smart buildings and smart cities is that the sensors in the equipment can be hacked and fed fake data which could be used for all manner of mischief, like causing signal failures that shut down subways or allowing contaminants into the water supply, etc.

Dimitrios Pavlakis, industry analyst at ABI Research, says: “Smart cities are increasingly under attack by a variety of threats. These include sophisticated cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, bringing industrial control systems to a grinding halt, abusing low-power wide area networks and device communication hijacking, system lockdown threats caused by ransomware, manipulation of sensor data to cause widespread panic (disaster detection systems) and siphoning citizen, healthcare, consumer data, and personally identifiable information, among many others.

“In this increasingly connected technological landscape, every smart city service is as secure as its weakest link,” Pavlakis added. Therefore, a strong cyber security infrastructure of India is the need of the hour that can be invoked in the case of a cyber incident.

Bablu Kumar had a brief discussion with Dr. Aditya Mukherjee, Security Leader at Accenture, regarding Smart City and related Cyber Security Concerns In India”. Below are the excerpts:

As India is moving towards smart cities, what are the top 5 concerns people need to take into account when developing a smart city from the cybersecurity perspective?

The complex nature of such high-scale engagements and its reliance on Information Technology for success is one of the major cybersecurity challenges that emerge out of it.

Things like –

 1. Infusion of Security from the inception of the project plan.

2. Focusing on Inter-dependencies of IT applications and their inherent threat and combined threat.

3. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) & Critical information exposure.

4. Access restriction to and of critical controls.

5. Cyber resilience of the Overall Setup against evolving Threats and Targeted Attacks.

As more than 500 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2030, what are the things that need to be prioritized that directly impact the citizens?

I believe the major concern should be about Privacy and How Personal Information is being harvested, utilized and monetized.

Today, we have no idea about how our information is being used by multiple entities to profile us and target us. This should be something that we all should be really focusing on.

Moreover, be cyber-savvy and stay updated about cyber attacks which impact individuals like Phishing, Scam promotional activities and ransomware. 

Basic cyber hygiene is the need of the hour for young and old alike.

“Security problems in cities are real and are current,” Cesar Cerrudo, CTO of IOActive says. “The possibilities are out there … So we need to start working on improving security right now.” – Dark Reading.

Given the concerns posed by CISOs, the current Indian government must take cyber security seriously. The cyber security challenges in India would increase further and India must be cyber prepared to protect its cyberspace. 

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