How Cyber attackers might threaten Hull’s Smart City network

how-cyber-attackers-might-threaten-hull’s-smart-city-network

How Cyber attackers might threaten Hull’s Smart City network

How Cyber attackers might threaten Hull’s Smart City network
2021-06-20 16:22:00
Hull can be justifiably proud of being one of the UK's leading Smart Cities. The title was earned after the city council became the first in the country to develop its own digital operating platform monitoring real-time data on a range of infrastructure such as traffic, parking, street lighting and even litter bins. Using hi-tech sensors, it allows the council to instantly check how busy certain routes are, where spaces are available in car parks, identify faulty lights, monitor air pollution and even find out how full a bin is and whether it needs emptying. Read more: A sunny day out in defence of Yorkshire's least loved beach The sensors in bins can also detect if a fire has been started in the rubbish. Wider data sharing with the public is the next step but what if a Smart City like Hull becomes the target of a cyber attack? According to the National Cyber Security Centre, Smart Cities are likely to become a target for hackers or even foreign states in the future. To sign up for the Hull Live newsletter, click here. An aerial image of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Recent guidance published by the NCSC – an arm of the government's GCHQ intelligence and security organisation – warned that critical public services which are increasingly run remotely by local councils need to be protected from disruption. It said sensitive data also needs to be secured from being stolen in large volumes. While some might claim current roadworks in Hull are already creating their own particular brand of daily disruption, NCSC technical director Dr Ian Levy said the idea of deliberately attacking critical infrastructure using technology is not a new one. He pointed to the 1969 classic film The Italian Job where Michael Caine's crime gang tampers with the traffic light system in Turin to create gridlock which allows a haul of gold to be stolen. Minis in Coventry sewers during the filming of “The Italian Job” film, September 1968 (Image: Mirrorpix) Dr Levy said: “A similar gridlock attack on a 21st century city would have catastrophic impacts on the people who live and work there and criminals wouldn't likely need physical access to the traffic control system to do it.. “These connected physical environments are just emerging in the UK, so now is the time to make sure we are designing and building them properly.” The new guidance advises local authorities on how to design and manage their systems to protect data and ensure they are resilient. It does do not explicitly name any countries or groups likely to carry out an attack but it does warn about the risks in the context of suppliers of the technology. In Hull, the city council has partnered with local tech company Connexin to roll out the Smart City system. Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will auto-play soon8Cancel Play now The NCSC guidance adds: “Some countries seek to obtain sensitive commercial and personal data from overseas, including from the UK. “They may also seek the potential to cause disruption to overseas services. “Suppliers that are part of corporate groups based in these countries may be subject to influence from those governments to access and exfiltrate data from UK-connected places, in support of those countries' security and intelligence services. “Such suppliers may also be used as a vector for an attempt to take down an essential service.” In recent years, several hospital trusts have been the target of cyber attacks. Overflowing waste bins could soon be a thing of a past (Image: PA) In 2017, routine operations and outpatient appointments at hospitals in Lincolnshire were suspended for several days after an attack on the local trust's computer system. At some sites, vehicles were left stuck in car parks when the automatic entrance gates stopped working. In a statement, the city council said it welcomed the new guidance issued by the NCSC. It added: “The council has an Enterprise Cyber Security Team which reviews all systems that the council proposed to introduce and undertakes a detailed risk assessment to inform a decision upon system adoption. “The team is in very regular engagement with the National Cyber Security Centre and the risk assessments they produce are informed by national guidance and complemented by detailed data protection impact assessments reported to the council’s information governance group, which is chaired by the council’s senior information risk officer. Your Hull Live email newslett

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