Doha, Qatar, November 16, 2015: Transforming cities into cities of the future involves deploying new technologies that drive smart city innovation. The development of smart cities across the globe is spurred by governments’ increased infrastructure and ICT spending in the implementation of technologies for a wide range of city services such as healthcare, traffic, police, fire, citizen services, electricity, water and municipal operations. According to industry reports, the global smart city market is valued at US$1.565 trillion in 2020 and over 26 Global Cities are expected to transform to Smart Cities in 2025. It is also estimated that within the same timeframe, there will be more than 40 to 50 billion connected devices that will transform the way we live and work.
With governments embracing ICT solutions to increase efficiencies, the cybersecurity threat has become more real. Cities have become prone to cyber-attacks and the number of cyber criminals attacking the internet infrastructure to steal data has grown by leaps and bounds. Theft of data from individuals, business and government organizations are occurring every day. In the Middle East, UAE and Qatar have been at the forefront of the smart cities program. Given that Qatar has named cyber security as one of its top three research priorities in 2014, the country is enhancing its national cyber security programs and ICT infrastructure through intense research and investment. To meet this end, the Qatar government has designed and established the national cyber security committee to oversee the country’s fight against cyber-crime and prevention strategies.
With experts predicting that the Middle East is increasingly facing the attack of cyber criminals more than anywhere else in the world, there is a pressing need for city governments’ to ramp up or its IT infrastructure to tackle the cyber-security challenges. It is believed that in the Middle East, the cost of cybercrime is in excess of $1 billion.
Cyber criminals are introducing new sophisticated viruses on a regular basis, that exploit security vulnerabilities, the most recognizable formats of cyber attacks include personal data theft, copyright infringement, fraud and virus sharing, and the most important being attacks against government property and information. With cities adopting more technological solutions to become smarter, the chances of the city becoming more vulnerable to a cyber-attack is higher. The need for cities to develop tactics and counter-measures to best prepare against possible cyber attacks and educate citizens on how to react while under attack is vital.
Cyber threats that may compromise smart cities and the imperative need for the State of Qatar to undertake rigorous measures to safeguard and ensure security against cyber-attacks will be discussed at length at the 5th Annual Arab Future Cities Summit that will be held on 11-12 April 2016 at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha. More information on the Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar is available now at http://www.arabfuturecities.com/. Follow the Summit on social media with the hashtag #AFCS2016.