With smart infrastructure and automation booming, experts are suggesting for businesses to take cyber security more seriously.

 

Finland is a country considered to be leading the charge to incorporate smart tech into building infrastructure. By adding together automation, mobile devices, and options for smart managing, these new smart buildings can save considerable management costs as well as add potential sources of revenue. Though like the dawning of any other new tech, these deployments are not without their vulnerabilities.

In the winter of 2016, a DoS (denial of service) attack on a building management company targeted their heating systems for two buildings, causing them to repeatedly reboot. The persisting cycle of reboots caused the heating system to fail. It seems as though the attacks were not an isolated incedent, with similar packet floods shutting down heating systems in other buildings in Finland.

It’s incidents like these that highlight the insufficiency of cyber security when it comes to smart building-automation systems, and shows the problems that can arise from such vulnerabilities. City and building managers are quick to add the technology to make their jobs easier, but often don’t set aside the time consider the important security implications first.

Economics favor making buildings smarter, but the security for this technology and infrastructure has not yet matured. Key components of smart buildings are the interconnected systems, making cyber security a primary concern. More specifically, the systems that run critical building functions are often created without considering the possible consequences of being connected to the internet.

The Connected Future

As time goes on, the only place for smart technology to go is up. Buildings and infrastructure will become more connected and more automated. The smart sensor industry is estimated to grow roughly 80 percent annually until 2020. Part of the appeal of installing smart devices in buildings is the ability to perform data collection on it’s occupants. Advocates of smart buildings also stress that adding smart tech, along with the ability to monitor it’s tenants and consumers, allows for additional sources of income beyond rental fees to develop, such as direct marketing and add-on services. The most notable proponent of this new era, will likely be hotels.

This is an inevitabe trend, and unfortunately many manufacturers of these systems have not learned enough about the possible risks and their respective defenses. This means that building management firms need to get focused and more educated on cybersecurity. A common issue is that many do not have a proper security contact, or even a policy in place to handle threat reports. For example, when security firms find a threat, they often have a difficult time finding the proper channel to report said issue to a smart-building firm.

The reality is that those involved in the world of cybercrime have started focusing on the lack of security in these smart building’s systems, and proper threat detection and solution channels need to be top priority for the future of smart infrastructure.