Air conditioning that is shutting off automatically once you leave the building, apartments who call the fire department when it’s burning – those are just some of the things that scientist Anthony Towsned describes in his book “Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia”.
And some of what you’d dream up for smart cities is already reality! Just take a look at New Songdo, a city that’s being built in South Korea. Trash, transportation and energy will all be controlled centrally. Residents are going to use smart cards as an ID, key, and payment method. Sounds innovative and like a dream, right?
Now if you believe this to be cool, just imagine what a paradise it will prove to be for hackers! Even now with the limited interconnection we have it is already possible to mess with traffic lights to jam roads and reroute cars. A lack of quality encryption makes it easy for hackers to just invade the system and screw around with it.
The more technology a city is using the more it becomes vulnerable to cyberattacks; the smartest cities are at risk the most, says Cesar Cerrudo, an Argentinian security researcher. He suggest that smart cities should secure their networks better to prevent scenarios like the one above. Let’s just hope that people take his advice seriously, otherwhise the dream of a smart city might end up to be a nightmare.
Head over to Golem.de to read the whole article (only available in German).