Smart City: Are we secured?

Smart City: Are we secured?

  June 06, 2018 |  digital security, Artificial Intelligence

With the advent of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things), technological advancements are reaching a different high to offer newer comfort to the mankind. The latest and brightest inclusion is Smart City, which is ready to change the definition of comfort living. The things which were beyond imagination few years back are now turning into reality. After the wave of digitization, India is undergoing a rapid change in terms of urbanization too. The rate of urbanization in India is going to increase by 60% in the next 30 years - a report by NITI Aayog revealed it, specially where the economic growth rate is 7-9%. Smart cities are the ideal step towards a digitally enabled and data-driven human behaviour which is self-sufficient.

While the entire nation is slowly venturing into Smart City, without any doubt, digital security is going to be the determiner of the success of this path-breaking initiative. Securing the Smart Cities is mostly a global not-for-profit initiative that aims to eradicate the current and upcoming cyber security disasters with the help of collaboration between organizations, governments, IT security enterprises, media outlets, and other not-for-profit ventures and individuals worldwide. Hence, more focus was given to better communication among those sectors to built up a smart nation. The basic necessities as well as ultra luxury facilities are going to controlled and monitored by advanced devices.

Here is brief account of few Smart City areas where technology and its security has been proved to be indispensable for smooth operations.

Advanced and Uninterrupted Water Supply

Smart City has online water supply network which not only supplies water to the corporation but also to every household in the vicinity. This technology even keeps a watchful eye on the amount of water consumption in every house and throws alert messages during leakage or uneven distribution and water scarcity in specific areas.

This system is based on Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) technology which gathers and analyzes real-time data. The water meters installed in the household have sensors, which are included under SCADA system. This system is expected to crunch a huge amount of data every single day as City Wide Surveillance system, Central Command and Control Rooms are all integrated with data centers, Power and Predictive analysis systems. In this chain of events, there are numerous people who work to ensure smooth continuity of the system. However, the privileged account can be accessed by any malicious insider or even any third party who has easy access to the data resulting in massive data theft. Thus it is highly imperative to secure the entire network from any suspicious intrusion and save the privileged accounts from being compromised. In order to prevent this possibility, a robust security with access management can ensure smooth operations. A strong security solution with access control, user authentication can prevent the malefactors from taking hostage of the system and maintain smooth water supply.

Transportation

The smart city mission in digitization era has its influence in Pune city eg. with respect to smart transportation. The Smart City Development Corporation Limited (SCDCL) has already accredited the transportation command and control centre to launch the unique mobility integration card, which is said to be India’s first ‘Interoperable Smart Card’ used as a single payment card for different transport modes across the city. A GPS tracking system have been added to more than 1,750 buses in the city. In addition, a vehicle health monitoring system has also been operational on 30 buses, which informs the control room about the dangers well in advance to avoid any mishap. To support global interoperability requirements, smart card technology follows traditional global standards, and applications using smart card technology with industry-specific specifications. Due to obvious reasons, this system is again vulnerable to third party access and eventually have higher chances of misuse. It consists of innumerable public data and if its compromised, then security of all their digital identity will definitely be at stake. A robust security system, if incorporated, can predict anything bad, prevent it and protect if from malicious third party access to ensure smooth and safe transportation. The GPS tracking system is normally vulnerable to unlawful access and the password should be protected to prevent personal data theft of the travelers who are using ‘Interoperable Smart Card’ for travelling. Even the real-time alerts can help the security officers to take immediate action against any probable miscreants.

E-sensors for advanced Sewage System

Monitoring and controlling e-sensor systems are very crucial in day-to-day operations and maintenance of proper sewerage facilities. Data management of e-sensors include plenty of operational data and historical records as well. Online data, laboratory data and field measurements happen in e-sensors which accumulate plenty of data everyday. Also, the practice of pursuing and working on digital innovations contribute to the sustainability of sewerage industry and gives scope to the cyber crooks to hang on to this route for accessing the sensitive records. It is an easy access for the malicious insiders to take hostage of the crucial operational data. Hence, its very essential for the controllers to provide a robust prevention infrastructure like access management that can monitor and control sewage systems to IoT (Internet of Things) platform, and make complete use of the operational information. A proper network security for the e-sensors provide real-time alerts for any suspicious activity which even helps the security officers to track the location and take immediate action and catch hold of the culprit.

Smart Bus Shelters and e-toilets

Lucknow, India’s one of the major Smart City initiative, has come up with the first smart bus shelter in the country few months ago along with an e-toilet. The smart bus shelter has a host of features and facilities for the commuters like display of real-time information about buses’ arrival, route details, availability of seats, e-toilets, ATM, drinking water facility, mobile chargers etc. Mainly equipped with GPS and Intelligent Traffic Management System (ITMS), this smart bus shelter has boards forecasting weather with basic information about bus arrival updates.

The Advanced Traffic Management System is an application of communication technologies for the aid of the transport hazards. This involves vehicle presence detectors, in-road magnetic loop detectors and other remote video surveillance devices for the CCTV present on the junctions and important busy roads to assure proper control irrespective of bad weather and invariable traffic volumes. On the basis of real-time data and historical data, the ITMS alters traffic signal cycles in real time, on the basis of sensors or surveillance devices, to respond to different traffic conditions. These traffic control systems feed data from individual controllers from different intersection to master controllers that can synchronize a group of individual controllers. Then, the main control center receives information from all master controllers, issue control commands when necessary, and optimize deployment of field personnel. Centralized information collection supports statistical analysis and historical files for subsequent strategic evaluation. A remote control center backs up the main control center for optimum security.

This GPS and ITMS system is again prone to unauthorized access and only a robust access management system can provide safety to the smart bus shelters. Any kind of breach in the access control system or password theft can cripple the entire system resulting in displaying wrong information or may be complete shut down. As a result, proper user authentication is highly required to keep a track of all the activities (log-ins and log-outs) happening in real-time.

Similarly, e-toilets are equipped with electronic control features with respect to hygiene of the toilet facility. The real-time monitoring of automatic pre-flush and after-flush controls the toilet facility. This also requires complete system security so that the control system doesn’t fall into wrong hands.

CCTV and PTZ Cameras

This is one of the important components of a smart city. Live video is one of those elements which enables a specific area of a smart city from incidental awareness to incidental intelligence. However, this video surveillance should be secured and resilient to any system compromise. This is one of the areas where cyber crooks concentrate at the very beginning to hide their whereabouts. Thus securing CCTVs and PTZ cameras is one of the crucial initiatives to be taken for the sake of a secured environment.

Conclusion

ARCON, being a pioneer of enterprise risk control solution providers, is equipped with all the required qualities which provides economically vibrant and SMART digital solutions for devices and the entire network infrastructure. In order to make it a reality, Smart City should be adopting a sustainable mindset for the smart technological innovations. Individual netizens will have to start getting accustomed to eco-friendly products and digital practices. It can be the smartest way to upgrade the urban life and at the same time protect the environment. However, this can be a reality only if Government, corporate companies, technology experts and individuals join hands together for a ‘Smart City’ revolution.


ARCON is a leading enterprise risk control solutions provider, specializing in risk-predictive technologies. ARCON | User Behaviour Analytics enables to monitor end-user activities in real time. ARCON | Privileged Access Management reinforces access control and mitigates data breach threats. ARCON | Secure Compliance Management is a vulnerability assessment tool.

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