Securing Smart Cities and IoT devices

Smart Cities and IOT are largely articulated buzzword in Digital transformation space. Digital transformation is good to have significant change towards betterment of human life style and “way of living”. Digital Transformation is broadly classified into exponential technology growth, Miniaturization, Virtualization and Linking Bio Technology with Information technology. The goal of digital transformation is towards the betterment of human life, one of the finest outcome of digital transformation is Smart City.  IoT devices are the building blocks for the smart city. Smart Cities are becoming a reality, more than 80 cities across the globe are projected to be smart by 2025.  Information Security plays a vital role in Smart City space towards safeguarding the higher levels of confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of the available services and automation process flow in the critical infrastructure, physical security, Transport, Telecommunication System, Government applications, Surveillance system and Inter connected alert mechanism.

IoT devices will obviously make your life easy, from your work place using your smart phone you can open your home door which is 40 Kms away from your geo coordinate. Even you can switch off your home AC, patrol your external sight of your home, get an alert if there is any smoke inside your home (Nest Labs). Even you can water your plant, weed your farm, plant your seed in your Farm house (Farmbot). Precise details about your heart beat zone, calories burn, your fitness information will be flashed in your smart phone screen with a help of a IoT band in your wrist. But there is a negative side too.

Albert Einstein had commented “Technology growth is like the axe in the hands of pathological criminal” Inorganic, uncontrolled technological growth without rationale will always paves way to the path of destruction. IOT and Smart city remains as Blue Ocean in terms of Business opportunity. The market remains untapped, New entrants, Start-ups are making floods of appliances and devices which are connected without a thought basis of Interconnections behind. Kaspersky Organization baptized IoT as “Internet of Crappy things”

IoT devices are evolving without inbuilt security architecture, If the manufacturer designs the security architecture in a chip form and embeds in the IOT the Price becomes unaffordable, due to the market needs and business drivers, IoT devices are incarnated without the security chips, remains affordable and highly Vulnerable. In addition, the IoT devices are not properly tested in security aspects.  A fitness band with lax security architecture in design will expose your personal, location and health related data to the internet world. An IoT Insulin pump and IoT pace maker security breach not only going to affect the confidentiality, but also affect the livability. Cherokee Jeep with a ECU OBD IoT devices had been hacked in United Kingdom and the cybercriminal taken the control of the Jeep and tried to crash the car. A Pace maker IoT device had been hacked and the hacker gained the access of IoT-pace maker and killed the victim. Those incidents triggers lexicographers to coin a new term Cyber-Killing.

Hence the IoT devices call for additional human security perspective along with information security perspective and proves the triadic CIA approach is not suffice.  Fourth factor of livability should be added to form CAIL quartet (Confidentiality, Availability, Integrity, Livability), Since Digital transformation is playing role to linking Bio technology and Information Technology. Stern information Security control must be mandated for the IoT devices, else it will cannibalize the human life.

IoT devices are the building block of the smart cities. driver less train (IoT train), Driver less Tram (IoT tram, Driver less Cars (IoT Cars), Fire Alert system, Fire Suppression system, Water Supply system, All mode of transportation, Government Integrated Applications, Street Lighting System, Transport Control, Crime detection system. Everything will be integral part of Smart cities. The weakness in the IoT devices sums up and endanger the human life, If it is not architected well in Human security and Information Security aspects.

The IoT technologies exposes new risk and attack vectors like IoT Security-Side-channel Attacks, this type of attacks focus less on the information rather it focuses more on how the information is presented. “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it” Albert Einstein. Considering the challenges in this arena the IoT devices vendors, IoT Hardware manufactures, IoT Application developers must include Security   (Authentication, Authorization and Encryption technologies ) in their designing phase, and Security Testing framework for IOT devices must be introduced. Furthermore, IoT Security compliant assaying should be mandated for all IoT devices.

Let’s aspire to have the secure Smart cities built with well-Engineered IoT devices towards the objective of betterment in human way of living.

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