More open = less secure?

Let’s describe Smart Cities from a cybersecurity perspective. There already exists a concrete definition in that urban conglomerates are a massive collection of IoT devices, thus a massive aggregation and utilization of disparate types of information.

Devices and data needs to be collected, trasported, stored and processed to enable the smarter management of public services: watchwords of forward-looking urban management infrastructures are interoperability and openness.

Considering technology today, having different networks controlling different services would be anachronistic for a city. Interoperability means any urban application can be monitored and actioned through a single platform, with less complexity and costs, and huge benefits in terms of effectiveness, scalability, and sustainability”, states Gianni Minetti, CEO at Paradox Engineering. “Openness is also a tremendous opportunity for cities. Taking advantage of a standard-based network, local stakeholders and businesses can design their own innovative applications and services, sharing innovation and stimulating mutual growth.

Although open standards have been legitimised in the last few years, they are still somewhat worrisome, since some city managers might assume an open infrastructure is less secure than traditional, legacy technologies. But we have a persuasive view about this.

Let’s review the evolution of the Internet: we wouldn’t have what the web offers us today if it was built on the proprietary, closed and vendor-locked technologies that were mainstream until the late 1980s. Openness and interoperability are the bedrocks of any urban development to be defined smart, and they are not synonyms of more vulnerability,” adds Minetti. “Since the very inception of PE Smart Urban Network, back in 2011, and now as members of the uCIFI Alliance, we have always envisioned openness together with security-by-design principles. Today, we are moving one step forward by integrating blockchain technology in our platform.”

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