Cyber Defense Maturity Levels and Threat Models for Smart Cities

Cyber Defense Maturity Levels and Threat Models for Smart Cities

Ali Amur Al Shidhani (The Research Council, Muscat, Oman)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJISP.2019040103
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Smart cities are in development around the world to tackle urbanization challenges. Smart solutions are being developed to optimize scarce resources, reduce service cost, improve service quality and improve the livelihood of city residents. With smart city infrastructure getting digitized and remotely accessible, the risk of cyber security cannot be overlooked. This article describes the technical and non-technical challenges smart cities are facing with regards to cyber security attacks. The article outlines design requirements that should be considered when designing a secure smart city. The requirements are overarching technical, operational, social, safety, legal and usability domains. In addition, the article proposes cyber defense maturity levels for smart cities and describes threat models relevant to each maturity level.
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1. Introduction

Cities endure several challenges in the quest to provide a quality living standard for its residents. According to United Nation (UN) reports, 54% of the world’s population live in urban areas. This number is projected to increase to 60% by 2030 and 66% by 2050 (Desa, 2012). Cities are getting congested and massively populated day by day. It is projected that the world will have 41 mega cities by 2030. A mega city is a city with a population of more than 10 million inhabitants (Information Security Forum, 2011). Although cities occupy only 5% of the earth’s land mass, they are causing a staggering 70% of global energy use and greenhouse gas emissions (The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the GEF, 2014).

With the great influx of inhabitants to urban areas, cities are under enormous pressure to provide better quality services. To name few examples, cities are requested to improve service delivery, reduce cost of services, reduce crime rate, tackle transportation challenges, reduce energy consumption and minimize damage to the environment. Such demands encouraged city officials into adapting smart solutions and applications.

There is no universally agreeable definition of a smart city. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), for example, adopts the following definition: “A smart sustainable city is an innovative city that uses ICTs and other means to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services and competitiveness, while ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social and environmental aspects” (Kondepudi, 2014). The British Standard Institute defines smart cities as “the effective integration of physical, digital and human systems in the built environment to deliver a sustainable, prosperous and inclusive future for its citizens” (Publicly Available Specifications, 2014). To summaries, smart cities utilize Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), big data, disruptive technologies and innovation to tackle economic, social and environmental challenges. Smart cities ultimate aim is to answer city residents’ current and future needs and aspirations.

A number of pillars constitutes the foundation of smart cities; namely, a) connectivity infrastructure, b) adaptive laws and regulation to cater for disruptive technologies, c) an innovative ecosystem that drives innovation and helps translating ideas into marketable products, d) high skilled and competence workforce through solid education and research institutions, e) the availability of correct and accessible open data to flourish innovative solutions, f) the existence of a resilient infrastructure to sustain natural disasters and man-made attacks on the city.

Cities become smart by adapting to disruptive innovations and services. Such disruptions can be technological or social. Examples of technological disruptors include big data analytics, cloud computing, mobile computing, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, robotics, drones and blockchain technology, to name a few. Social disruptions include crowed sourcing, the sharing economy, gamification, social media and others. Smart solutions in cities are a product of thoughtful utilization of disruptive innovations.

A smart city comprises of many smart services and solutions. Typical smart city service includes smart mobility, smart energy, smart water and smart waste, to name a few. Smart mobility is characterized by adoption of technologies to reduce congestion, suggest fastest routes and reduce impact on environment. Technologies such as smart traffic control signals, smart lighting, autonomous vehicles, smart parking and ride-sharing services are some examples. Smart energy emphasizes on reducing energy consumption. Use of LED lightening, roof-top solar panels, smart household appliances, smart electricity meters and smart grids are some examples of technologies used in smart energy.

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