Last stories on 'Security and public safety'
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LABCITIES
5 days ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

In the not-so-distant future, smart cities will weave the Internet of Things (IoT) and interconnected devices into existing technology infrastructure to bring entire communities online. Singapore, for example, recently launched its Smart Nation program, deploying citywide sensors and monitors to collect data on everyday living. Using an online platform dubbed Virtual Singapore, the city-state plans to use the information to improve livability and enhance government services.

But like all things digital, smart city networks have the potential to be breached by malevolent intruders. In Ukraine, hackers targeted a power grid and took an entire city's substations offline, leaving thousands of residents without power. Cybercriminals can also disrupt emergency response systems. In Texas, hackers triggered all of Dallas' emergency sirens, eventually prompting government officials to shut down the city's security system.

Bringing cities online invites a new type of threat that most government agencies are unprepared for. From traffic lights to power grids, smart cities are full of entry points that could fall victim to hackers' exploits. As cities design their digital future, government agencies need to prioritize cybersecurity protocols to mitigate attacks that have the potential to cripple entire communities.

Julian Sandler
last week
Julian Sandler
Smart City Expert

Every city has at least one dangerous intersection where cars, trucks, and buses jostle for space with pedestrians and bicyclists, often resulting in injury, and sometimes death. Could a network of wirelessly connected cameras and sensors, combined with sophisticated algorithms that analyze how people are behaving on the road, make these junctions less hazardous?

Verizon is using Boston as a test bed to find out. In March, the tech giant began collecting car, bike, and pedestrian traffic data at one of the city’s most hectic intersections. Boston will use the information to redesign its streets, says Vineet Gupta, director of policy and planning for the Boston Transportation Department. The data can measure if interventions such as changing traffic signal timings or installing a bike lane have been effective, he adds.

LABCITIES
3 weeks ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Smart city development is in full swing, but it appears that city officials are leaving security by the wayside.

While the definition of what makes a city "smart" is still up for debate, in general, we often consider it a system of both traditional infrastructure and new, overlaying structures created from emerging technologies such as web connectivity, data collection and analytics, sensors, and mobile solutions.

Smart traffic systems to reduce congestion, surveillance systems to detect crime, LED-based street lighting with motion sensors and data-driven control of the smart grid and water systems are only some of the ways that a city can be considered smart -- but with all new advances in technology, there are potential drawbacks.

Security is the critical issue at the forefront of the minds of researchers and one that could cause chaos in urban areas unless we gain a handle on it now.

LABCITIES
last month
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

The state and local governments are becoming more proactive in their approach to IT and cybersecurity, together spending more than the federal government. According to the research company e.Republic, state and local governments will spend some $101.3 billion on IT, with both counties and states each increasing their budget by about 1.5 percent. (By comparison, the federal government has budgeted about $90 billion.)

So cybersecurity is a top IT priority among CIOs at the state, county and city level. In general we can say that the priority has been triggered by a push toward IoT in the so-called “smart cities” development vision to integrate IoT with communications technology to better manage municipal assets.

To that extent, IoT is at a much more mature place at the state and local level than it is in the federal government or even private industry. State IT executives are more aware of IoT cybersecurity implications, because they’re dealing with industrial systems, facilities HVAC, appliances and the power grid, all of which are managed at the municipal level. To complicate matters, many connected municipal services, from public transportation to water purification are both used and in some cases managed by private companies, so potential cybersecurity threats can come from many different intrusion points at once.

LABCITIES
last month
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Cities are notoriously inefficient. As populations rise, everything from mass transit and road maintenance to power generation and garbage collection becomes more complex and costly. Beyond ballooning budgets, there’s also a push among residents for smarter services driven by Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled infrastructure.

Why drive around aimlessly in search of a parking spot when sensor-enabled apps could simply point users in the right direction? Why leave streetlights on when they’re not needed, or lose water to undiscovered leaks? Empowered, connected and automated smart cities offer a potential solution, but as explained by Information Age, they may come with a considerable caveat: malware.

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