What Do Attacks Like WannaCry Mean for the Future of Smart City Infrastructure?

What Do Attacks Like WannaCry Mean for the Future of Smart City Infrastructure?

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Imagine a scenario where you wake up late as the smart coffee pot and alarm combo did not wake you up. To make it worse, the coffee isn’t made. The shower is cold as the preset thermostat didn’t kick in at 6 am. The internet is down. On your walk to the metro, you discover that the traffic lights are out, and police are everywhere, attempting to control traffic by hand signals. The metro is closed as the ticket machines won’t work, the barriers won’t open and besides, the autonomous trains can’t operate. You try to order an uber but the phone lines are jammed and you can’t get through. You try to get money out of the ATM to buy a coffee somewhere but the machine is broken. You then receive an SMS from your boss telling you that the computers won’t work and there’s a popup message on the screen asking for bitcoin in exchange for data and "oh and do we still have a fax machine somewhere in the basement?"

This in the future scenario is perhaps a stretch of the imagination (that sounds a bit like something out of The Walking Dead sans zombies), but since last Friday many people have thought more about cybersecurity than they ever needed to before. In short, over 50,000 organizations and 150 countries were hit by the WannaCry ransomware attack. In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) was affected with staff unable to access patient records, some phones went down and operations were canceled. In Germany, digital display boards at Deutsche Bahn train stations were inoperable. In Spain, internal computers were down at telecommunications provider Telefonica.

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May 22, 2017 at 07:39AM

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