Smart cities need smart vaccine
Smart Vaccine approach needed to protect region's smart cities, says security expert
A new approach to cyber security is required to protect smart cities, according to Dr Rocky Termanini, CEO of MERIT Cyber Security Group and advisor to the US Department of Homeland Security.
Speaking at the CISO Middle East Summit in Oman last month, Dr Termanini said that existing security solutions are inadequate to protect smart city and the Internet of Things. He proposes a new security approach, a ‘Smart Vaccine’ which will replicate the human immune system, to block attacks as soon as they are detected, share intelligence and protection, and co-ordinate response to the attack.
The current signature-based anti-virus solutions are only effective once a virus or malware has been detected, and a ‘definition’ of that particular malware is issued by the anti-virus vendor, so that the AV application knows to block that particular behaviour. In the highly automated and integrated environment of a smart city, with many autonomous systems, this approach will not react quickly enough to any cyber attack, Termanini said, leaving cities dangerously vulnerable to malicious actions.
“It is revolutionary, simply because Norton, Kaspersky, McAfee and all those companies have not done anything. They reached a plateau, they are stagnating, because it is a commodity, if you don’t download the latest virus definitions, the machine is dead,” Termanini commented. “It doesn’t work with smart cities, you need to have something much more comprehensive, much more cognitive, much more intelligent, much more smart, and they don’t have it.”
Dr Termanini is proposing a new cyber security approach based on the human nervous system, a Smart Vaccine approach, which, as part of a Cognitive Early Warning Preventive System, will vastly improve the ability of smart cities to deflect attacks before they have taken root. The smart vaccine will both give early warning of attacks, and automatically block and quaranting attacking malware.
In the smart vaccine model, which will combine grid computing, artificial intelligence, reverse engineering, and cognitive reasoning, end points will all be connected using grid computing, and when an attack on one part of the grid is detected, a central command will be alerted. The central command will then issue an appropriate response based on a knowledge base and reverse engineering of malware samples. Protection and quarantine capabilities will then be distributed to all end points.
Dr Termanini is currently reaching out to the academic and security communities in the region, to help develop the concept into a reality, to ensure that security development keeps pace with the rapid adoption of smart city technologies.
“We are elevating the intelligence of the city into a smart city, and yet we are leaving the most important component, security, behind,” he noted. “Smart cities will definitely need smart vaccine, it is the agent that will vaccinate critical infrastructure, immunize them, way ahead of time.”