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4/8/2015
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IOActives Global Call to Action: Smart Cities Must Protect Citizens from Emerging Cyber Security Threats

Company releases white paper on the emerging threats cities face

Seattle, USA — April 8, 2015 – IOActive, Inc., the leading global provider of hardware, software, and wetware security services, today announced the release of a white paper that serves as a call to action for cities around the world that are facing new risks as they adopt emerging technologies.  

“Smart” technologies that manage things like traffic or electricity by adapting to current conditions are being weaved together to create smarter cities. These newer technologies along with faster and easier connectivity allow cities to optimize resources, save money, and at the same time provide better services to its citizens. However, the technologies also are creating larger attack surfaces for potential cyber attackers.

“Adoption of new technology is growing at a rapid rate, often without having cyber security in mind,” said Cesar Cerrudo, chief technology officer for IOActive and author of the new Smart City white paper. By 2020 the potential market for smart cities could be more than $1 trillion.[1]  

“Many cities around the world are in danger as they become smarter. Smart technology opens the door to cyber attacks that can have huge impact in citizens’ daily lives,” Cerrudo said.

How does a city become smarter?

Main city services become smarter by deploying new technologies such as:

·      Smart traffic control

·      Smart parking

·      Smart street lighting

·      Smart public transportation

·      Smart energy management

·      Smart water management

·      Smart waste management

 

These are supported by other foundational technologies that are also deployed by cities, such as:

·      City Management Systems

·      M2M (Machine to Machine) Communication

·      Sensors

o   Weather

o   Pollution Levels

o   Seismic

o   Smell

o   Flood

o   Sound

·      Open Data

·      Mobile Applications

 

Proof of Concept

IOActive’s recent groundbreaking research positions the company as an authoritative figure in the discussion of Smart City security. For example, the company’s traffic control systems research highlighted issues in traffic control systems around the world, laying the foundation for bigger security issues facing Smart Cities. 

IOActive has also identified numerous areas where the security of smart cities is at risk. A few examples of these include:

·      Large and Complex Attack Surfaces: With so much complexity and interdependency, it is difficult to identify what system or technology is exposed. This means a simple problem can have a large impact due to interdependencies and associated chain reactions. This highlights the need for threat modeling. 

·      Insecure Legacy Systems: New technologies integrated with old technologies can make the system more vulnerable. This increases the complexity and the attack surface while slowing the adoption of newer technologies. 

·      Technology Vendors Impede Security Research: New systems and devices used by smart cities are difficult to acquire by the security research community.  Most are expensive and are usually only sold to governments or specific companies, making it difficult for systems to be rigorously tested. This increases the risk to cities as more unsecured technologies are released into the market without accountability from security researchers.

White Paper

The Smart City white paper details the issues and the impact of these technologies from a security perspective. The paper provides an analysis of the cyber security problems faced by these technologies, as well as details of possible cyber attackers and attacks targeting cities systems and infrastructure. 

The paper concludes with a call to action to city leaders. Cerrudo outlines the steps cities should pursue to protect public safety.

Cesar will present the details of this paper during RSA Conference in San Francisco later this month: https://www.rsaconference.com/events/us15/agenda/sessions/1527/hacking-smart-cities. He will also attend the IOActive IOAsis taking place the same week: http://www.ioactive.com/alerts/ioasissanfrancisco2015.html.

Additionally, he will host an IOActive webinar – Hacking and Securing Smart Cities –on April 30. For more information and to register, please visit: http://www.ioactive.com/alerts/cesar-cerrudo-hacking-and-securing-smart-cities.html

To receive a copy of the white paper, please click here: http://www.ioactive.com/labs/resources-white-papers.html

 

 

About IOActive
IOActive is a comprehensive, high-end information security services firm with a long and established track record in delivering elite security services to its customers. Our world-renowned consulting and research teams deliver a portfolio of specialist security services ranging from penetration testing and application code assessment to chip reverse engineering. Global 500 companies across every industry continue to trust IOActive with their most critical and sensitive security issues. Founded in 1998, IOActive is headquartered in Seattle, US, with global operations through the Americas, EMEA, and Asia Pac regions. Visit www.ioactive.com for more information. Read the IOActive Labs Research Blog: http://blog.ioactive.com. Follow IOActive on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ioactive.

 

 


[1] Frost & Sullivan: Global Smart Cities market to reach US$1.56 trillion by 2020. http://ww2.frost.com/news/press-releases/frost-sullivan-global-smart-cities-market-reach-us156-trillion-2020

 

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