From February 6-7, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) will cohost the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) Smart and Secure Cities and Communities Challenge (SC3) kickoff event to discuss solutions in smart cities and potential internet of things (IoT) impacts on cybersecurity and privacy. This is an opportunity for cybersecurity and smart city experts to examine different approaches to resiliency in future urban smart city and IoT environments.
With future infrastructure, S&T’s focus remains the same as any in the past: It will always be about resilience. But resilience is an ever-evolving objective, as further innovations are made accessible for public use. Cities lacking proactive security measures built into their IoT systems will be vulnerable to a host of new cyber-threats.
S&T’s cyber experts and data analysts alike are faced with owning a mission of resilience familiar to DHS in the physical realm, but applied to an emerging virtual, data-driven world.
Because all components of an IoT are interdependent, any part left vulnerable to attack might not only compromise a financial institution or a host of personal identities, but physical infrastructure as well, such as electrical grids and water mains. The impact of a single data breach could be felt across an entire economy.
This concern highlights the need for programs like GCTC, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and collaborative efforts that stem from them. While our current cities are not inherently designed to manage the universal cyber-threats that may arise in the coming years, we will continue to facilitate innovations in threat modeling, Blockchain, city-wide sensors and other networked technologies to secure these spaces and empower operators to respond effectively when called upon.
The city as a whole can be more informed, better equipped and more agile than in the past, with built-in cybersecurity solutions. We look forward to advancing ever closer to this vision as we continue to engage in these conversations throughout the year. With NIST’s ties to the smart city community and S&T’s cybersecurity connections, GCTC already has resulted in more than 100 collaborative efforts in the interest of making cities “smarter”—that is, more resilient.