Securing Our Smart Cites

By Martha Vazquez and Adam Lotia

Municipalities are jumping into the connected and smart silo game with both feet and their eyes closed. We say eyes closed because they’re picking technologies, connecting them and opening up data like never before without the worry of consequence, or knowledge of security measures. Cities are starting to connect their traffic lights, water meters, public transit systems and many more things. Case in point: traffic lights are always shown being hacked in Hollywood to help the getaway, like in The Italian Job, and that is not far off from the truth.

The Federal Government has been trying to play catch up, as always, and has started with various House and Senate bills to specify how municipal data should be secured. Private companies have also started to put together a self-regulation, not-for-profit called Smart Cities Initiative. The Smart Cities Initiative has more to do with catching up than actually being proactive.

Security is an issue and it’s not going to go away. In fact, as more and more devices proliferate, the problem is only going to get worse. While it’s good to see large companies like ARM, Intel, Kaspersky and others step in, the strategy is not quite all there yet. There are no clear strategies in place, and there is still a lot of movement with acquisitions and software integrations. We know even though a company gets bought the solution still will take time to be implemented. Right now there is a lot of press but no one actually showing a solution. At JBA, we believe a basic IT Security policy is a critical part of any secure organizations.  Municipalities looking at connecting systems, should at least take the first step in creating rules and procedures to ensure some basic controls systems are in place.