Smart cities provide us with safety, protection and comfort. Good management could allow us to share the cost of many services, such as increased security quotas. These advantages can be achieved for buildings, groups of users, neighbourhoods or cities. Many cities are adapting to this paradigm, which is starting to become a social requirement, especially in the current situation, in which security is a critical component and the economy is deteriorating.

Around the world, many smart cities are being built from scratch, using secure technology to pursue these benefits, as in the case of the Msheireb district in Doha.  However, most cities that are or want to progress towards the smart city model are integrating different technologies in terms of sensorization, IoT, data management, etc. and this makes them increasingly vulnerable to new threats. When you connect everything to the Internet you open up many doors and you must always be aware of the risk of leaving some of them open or not properly closed. 

We have seen the effects of cyber-attacks on connected industry, on Industry 4.0, but we have also seen attacks on numerous cities. Last year, we witnessed a large number of cyber-attacks against cities, towns and government organizations. In Augusta, USA, there was a cyber-attack that froze its network and forced the city center to shut down, hackers stole ransomware worth half a million dollars from the city of Tallahassee, Florida, and another attack blocked the state of Louisiana’s web portal and several online government services.

We need to ensure that controlled infrastructures in smart cities are not vulnerable to cyber-attacks, that their citizens feel safe while connected to the network, and that all connected devices in a city are protected. Technologies are being developed to ensure that critical and non-critical infrastructures are well-managed and protected at the same time. For example, in Spain, the company that has created a smart city management system is about to launch another one called that monitors networks, protecting infrastructures in a way that is transparent to the user.

This article has been published by the Innovadores supplement of the newspaper El Mundo.

Posted by Juan M. Corchado

Juan Manuel Corchado (15 de Mayo de 1971, Salamanca, España) Catedrático en la Universidad de Salamanca. Ha sido Vicerrector de Investigación desde el 2013 hasta el 2017 y Director del Parque Científico de la Universidad de Salamanca. Elegido dos veces como Decano de la Facultad de Ciencias, es Doctor en Ciencias de la Computación por la Universidad de Salamanca y, además, es Doctor en Inteligencia Artificial por la University of the West of Scotland. Dirige el Grupo de Investigación Reconocido BISITE (Bioinformática, Sistemas Inteligentes y Tecnología Educativa), creado en el año 2000. Director del IOT Digital Innovation Hub y presidente del AIR Institute, J. M. Corchado también es Profesor Visitante en el Instituto Tecnológico de Osaka desde enero de 2015, Profesor visitante en la Universiti Malaysia Kelantan y Miembro del Advisory Group on Online Terrorist Propaganda of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (EUROPOL). J. M. Corchado ha sido presidente de la asociación IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics, y coordinador académico del Instituto Universitario de Investigación en Arte y Tecnología de la Animación de la Universidad de Salamanca e investigador en las Universidades de Paisley (UK), Vigo (Spain) y en el Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK). En la actualidad compagina toda su actividad con la dirección de los programas de Máster en Seguridad, Animación Digital, Telefonía Movil, Dirección de Sistemas de Información, Internet de las Cosas, Social Media, Diseño e Impresión 3D, Blockchain, Z System, Industria 4.0, Gestión de Proyectos Ágiles y Smart Cities & Intelligent Buildings​, en la Universidad de Salamanca y su trabajo como editor jefe de las revistas ADCAIJ (Advances in Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence Journal), OJCST (Oriental Journal of Computer Science and Technology) o Electronics MDPI (Computer Science & Engineering section). J. M. Corchado desarrolla principalmente trabajos en proyectos relacionados con Inteligencia Artificial, Machine Learning, Blockchain, IoT, Fog Computing, Edge Computing, Smart Cities, Smart Grids y Análisis de sentimiento.