Smart Cities Could Be Crippled by Dumb Security (MIT Technology Review)

Urban centers around the world increasingly drip with technology. But as a hack over the weekend reminds us, city officials mustn’t forget that cybersecurity is a critical part of adding smarts to the urban environment.

On Friday night, residents of Dallas struggled to get as much sleep as they might have liked. At around 11:40 P.M., the city’s hurricane warning system sounded: 156 emergency sirens, all screaming out in unison. It happened another 15 times, each burst lasting 90 seconds, until the alarms finally fell silent around 1:20 on Saturday morning.

But as the New York Times reports, there was no hurricane coming—the sounds were triggered by a hacker who’d penetrated the system’s security measures. Few details have emerged about the hack, save for the fact that it’s thought to have been carried out locally and was very effective (technicians couldn’t stop the hacker, so they had to shut down the entire system to quiet the alarms).

Source: MIT Technology Review