Making video surveillance cyber secure in Smart Cities

Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructures and applications are one of the main priorities of investment for Smart Cities. Local governments are willing to embrace digital transformation to interconnect public and private services to increase innovation and efficiency, enhance safety and security, improve the quality of life, provide credible measures to major city problems and boost sustainable economic development.

Above you can see my conversation with Massimiliano Claps, Associate VP at IDC Government Insights – EMEA, as we discuss how cities can make their video surveillance systems more cyber resilient. Massimiliano has also contributed his own thoughts on the broader issue of smart city vulnerability, with the startling statement that “in 2017 at least one major city will suffer a cyberattack that will impact its short-term ability to effectively function”.

Video’s role in the Smart City

As Massimiliano says, “Cities are at the core of the digital economy, globally all governments are investing in IoT, now it’s about figuring out what are the platform components that can really generate benefits.”

Video networks play a key role in the public safety and security of a Smart City, allowing local authorities to build IoT infrastructures on open-interface platforms easily integrated with already existing systems and applications.

Massimiliano agrees, stating, “Video is one of those elements that is enabling cities to go from simple situational awareness to situational intelligence where you can predict things.”

Network video cameras are reliable and cost-effective tools to provide real-time data on a number of city services such as police and emergency services, electricity, water, lighting, and traffic management.

But technology is evolving at a very high speed, bringing not only new opportunities but also dangerous threats to Smart Cities, with cyberattacks addressed not only to IT systems but also to critical infrastructure and physical services and networks.

Designing Smart Cities with security at the forefront

Local governments must be capable of dealing with the risks of digital transformation regarding two macro areas of cybersecurity vulnerability, according to a recent : the blurring boundaries of the new public-private ecosystem and the opening of digital architectures in addition to the traditional physical assets. The research underlines the need for Smart Cities to take adequate countermeasures in order to face these future challenges with resilience, response and forensic analytics as the backbone of this new approach.

In this context, network cameras can also suffer cyber threats if not properly secured, leading to possible distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks affecting IT applications as well as public safety services.

In order to make video surveillance solutions secure and resilient, city authorities must: ensure that all the parties involved in the city ecosystem management follow security policy standards; design the configuration and deployment of the end-to-end video solution to reduce security loopholes; establish business continuity strategies for dealing with downtime issues; assess unknown gaps and vulnerabilities with frequent tests; work with video-solution suppliers in order to leverage the most useful security capabilities.

Below infographic summarizes the most important aspects of a Smart City cyber security. More information on Axis solutions for safer cities can be found here.