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Study: Smart Grids Highly Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

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It’s nearly unanimous: Smart cities are at risk

As cities get smarter and more connected, those same cities may be be getting dumb on cybersecurity.

A recent survey conducted by IT security firm Tripwire and technology market research firm Dimensional Research found that smart cities are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. The term “smart cities” refers to regions that have largely connected city services like power grids, transportation, surveillance cameras, and more.

Results of the survey revealed that 98 percent of respondents consider smart cities at risk when it comes to major cyber attacks. IT professionals working for state and local governments comprised the group of more than 200 survey respondents.

Transportation a common concern. More specifically, 26 percent of respondents chose transportation as the one city service that faces the greatest cyber security risks.

IoT vulnerability

With news of the recent, massive DDoS attack that struck the U.S. being tied directly to the IoT, the issue of smart grid security just jumped to center stage.

As society becomes more connected with “smart” devices and appliances, experts point out that cybersecurity is, at times, being compromised. Those cities becoming “smarter” face the same challenges.

“Smart grids can help optimize utilities, but bring additional cyber security and regulatory challenges. Respondents to this survey seem to recognize these threats, but their smart city initiatives need further refinement. Identifying smart city cyber risks is just one step; smart cities need to translate this recognition into action.” — Rekha Shenoy, vice president and general manager of industrial cyber security for Belden

Nearly all respondents — 98 percent — also spoke to the importance of smart city initiatives. So, with equal parts citing importance and citing concern over security, it’s likely that smart grid cybersecurity will garner attention in the near future.

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