Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Black Hat USA
July 31 - August 5, 2021
Las Vegas, NV, USA
SecTor
November 4 - October 30, 2021
Toronto, ON, Canada
Black Hat Europe
November 8-11, 2021
Virtual Event
11/5/2018
12:00 PM
Matt Lewis, Research Director, NCC Group
Matt Lewis, Research Director, NCC Group
Event Updates
50%
50%

Smart City Security Testing: Research -> Tooling -> Methodology -> Go!

The idea and concept of Smart Cities is certainly gaining traction. Cities around the world are already investing in trials, testbeds and in many cases operational system deployments such as smart energy, smart lighting, smart parking; the list goes on...

The idea and concept of Smart Cities is certainly gaining traction. Cities around the world are already investing in trials, testbeds and in many cases operational system deployments such as smart energy, smart lighting, smart parking; the list goes on...

The motivation in driving Smart Cities forwards lies with the promise of increased operational efficiency and the ability to use vast amounts of data captured by sensors and systems to improve the quality and provision of services and welfare to citizens. However, much of the marketing around Smart Cities is expectedly optimistic and often has little to no reference to security. As Smart City subsystem rollouts continue around the world with complicated interconnections to a myriad of other networks and orchestration systems that seek to govern and control the underlying city, this begs the question: “How do we test or assure the security of an entire city?”

At NCC Group we are answering this exact question through a dedicated research programme on Smart City security testing. Leveraging the expertise of our global hardware practice in the work that they do on IoT and embedded systems, we are researching the various protocols and systems that will underpin Smart Cities; developing tools and testing techniques and fleshing out methodologies for repeat and consistent testing and validation of Smart City security. For example, we have recently completed an in-depth study of LoRaWAN, a low-power, long-range protocol ideal for sensors that will be deployed around Smart Cities and will need to be operational with little to no maintenance for long periods of time. Using Pycom LoPy4 devices we have developed a full LoRaWAN testing capability which includes scanning, interception and interrogation capabilities. We are now building on this capability to include support for other Smart City protocols such as NB-IoT.

With our tooling and methodology we are able to drive around Smart Cities and enumerate sensors and devices. This is a key initial step in Smart City security testing as it allows us to map out the technology landscape and enumerate the technical function and capability of devices found. Each device in a Smart City, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, poses a potential attack vector into the Smart City network, or at least provides a method to potentially corrupt and manipulate sensing data in ways that might cause onwards disruption to services. The ability to geo-locate sensing equipment is likely to be a goal for attackers -  given physical access to these devices it may be possible to perform all manner of tampering and hardware-based attacks.

In addition to looking at the security of edge and end-node devices we are also surveying Smart City orchestration and general unified IoT connection software. The ability to take full control of these applications could allow attackers unfettered control of an entire Smart City – suddenly “root shell” becomes “root city” – a sobering thought.

Want to get involved in researching and testing IoT and Smart City technologies? Please do get in touch - https://www.nccgroup.trust/uk/about-us/careers/current-vacancies/

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Commentary
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
Edge-DRsplash-11-edge-ask-the-experts
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
News
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Google's new See No Evil policy......
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-24368
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-20
The Quiz And Survey Master – Best Quiz, Exam and Survey Plugin WordPress plugin before 7.1.18 did not sanitise or escape its result_id parameter when displaying an existing quiz result page, leading to a reflected Cross-Site Scripting issue. This c...
CVE-2021-31664
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
RIOT-OS 2021.01 before commit 44741ff99f7a71df45420635b238b9c22093647a contains a buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-33185
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS contains a buffer overflow in the set_range test in TestBitmap which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-33186
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS in test-crypto.cpp contains a stack buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-31272
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS before commit 3844e8569689dd476064a0759d704bc64fb3ca2c contains a directory traversal vulnerability in tar/unzip that may lead to command execution or privilege escalation.