Cyber crooks could soon hold a city to ransom

Could the threat of ransomware be turned against connected systems with the potential to bring a city to a halt?

Last year ransomware saw everything from family photo archives to business networks targeted by cyber criminals demanding bitcoins to set your data free. Then, out of the shadows, emerged concerted attacks with higher ransoms as hospitals and local councils were in the crosshairs. But why stop there? What if ransomware went after a whole smart city?

Back in 2007, Bruce Willis experienced the chaos that ensues when all the traffic lights are set to green by hacking villains in the Die Hard 4.0 movie. A decade on and real life promises just as much city-wide disruption if the bad guys get their way.

“If hackers had control of traffic lights this would affect everything, from the economic impact of preventing employees getting to work, to safety consequences of an immobilised emergency services,” warns Peter Godden, vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at disaster recovery specialists Zerto.

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