Rwanda plans to modernize its infrastructure with a series of smart-city deployments that experts warn will drive new cybersecurity requirements.
Officers unveiling Smart City Hub Concept Smart City Africa conference this week. project aim to create Pan-African collaboration on smart-city initiatives as well as further development of smart cities around the continent, with There are plans to build 100 smart cities by 2100.
Paula Musoni, ICT and Innovation Minister of Rwanda, said on Twitter That the Smart City Hub is “aligned to test, scale and promote our country’s visionary solutions” and hopes the hubs will allow collaboration to emerge and build smart cities in Rwanda and share lessons learned with other nations.
Smart cities bring their own cyber-risks. Holly Hennessy, Senior Analyst, IoT Cyber Security at Omdia, sees smart-cities as essentially IoT implementations on a much larger scale. They come with much more complexity, with multiple connections between devices, buildings and infrastructure. Additionally, someone has to take responsibility for securing it, he says.
“You’ve got the ecosystem and other players involved around it: system integrators, service providers, mobile network operators and so on. IoT generally requires cybersecurity considerations through design, implementation, lifecycle – and this will be no different. For smart-cities, ” he says.
According to Deloitte, rapid hyper-connectivity and digitization of cities is accelerating cyber threats. In a recent report, the organization recommended that cities seeking to become smart need to be innovative and proactive in managing a skills gap for smart-city work, such as crowdsourcing, rewards and challenges to attract cyber talent.
What about security challenges?
A panel At the Smart Cities Summit, Ghislaine Kaigi, Chief Cyber Security Standards Officer at Rwanda’s National Cyber Security Authority, said infrastructure vulnerabilities within smart cities must be explored and risks related to personal data assessed.
In particular, the growing number of connected devices — such as IoT and connected city infrastructure — poses risks for smart-cities. Arsene Simbi, team lead of the SmartTech division in Salvi Rwanda, highlighted the importance of developing standardized security systems and collaborating with regulators.
Yannick Berneron, Vice President of Hitachi Systems Security, emphasized the importance of data-driven trust, security by design and the role of zero-trust architecture in the development of smart cities. He cited the need for data privacy as central to the development of smart cities and the need for strong laws and vigilant monitoring against cyber threats.
Researchers have demonstrated security flaws in smart-city technology, and attacks on cities and infrastructure have become more common of late. The biggest challenges to securing smart cities: lack of testing and oversight, as well as huge attack surfaces.