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Indian Smart Cities Need to be Secure too

Sanjeev Relia Writes: Government of India has announced an ambitious 100 smart cities programme. tate capitals, tourist cities and even heritage cities are expected to witness a rapid upgrade of urban infrastructure and online services to citizens, enabled by Information Technology.

Sanjeev Relia Writes: Government of India has announced an ambitious 100 smart cities programme. Rupees 7,060 Crores have been allocated in the budget for the financial year 2014 -15 for this project. Implementation is likely to commence soon. State capitals, tourist cities and even heritage cities are expected to witness a rapid upgrade of urban infrastructure and online services to citizens, enabled by Information Technology.

Some of the key aspects of the smart cities being planned by the Government of India are:

  • Smart parking.
  • Intelligent transport system.
  • Tele care.
  • Smart grids.
  • Smart urban lighting.
  • Smart waste management.
  • Smart city maintenance.
  • Digital signage.
  • Smart water management.
  • Women safety based on smart surveillance and smart policing.

COL RELLIA

At the heart of smart cities are self-aware and self-organising networks, storage and power networks, hybrid networking technologies, data and signal processing technology, platform interoperability besides next generation Internet Of Things (IOT) based social software and enterprise applications. Industrial Control Systems (ICS), Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems and Remote Telemetry Units (RTU) will be embedded into every aspect of such cities life. But the flip side is that all of these are being constantly targeted through the cyberspace to disrupt, destroy and deny the services being provided by these network elements. Therefore, like any other ICT system, a smart city’s technological and communication environment, the network infrastructure and the IOT will present vulnerabilities to cyberattacks.

As systems grow more complex, interconnected and handle more information, their exposure to vulnerabilities increases; whether due to malicious intent or human error. Unless the cyber security layer is built into the smart city architecture, one should not be surprised if in the future the news headlines read, “cyber terrorists hack into the electricity grid of Surat causing a blackout” or “Pune faces 20 hours traffic jam as hackers bring the city to grinding halt”.

CYBER2

It is therefore essential that the smart cities are not just safe but secure too. A cyber ecosystem needs to be created as part of the smart city environment where each device is safe and secure from all kinds of cyber threats. Multi-tier cyber security systems can only ensure this. Decision and policy makers must ensure that citizens of such cities can enjoy the true benefits that Smart Cities have to offer, without fear of compromise.

 

 

 

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