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It’s pretty easy to hack a smart city, cybersecurity researchers find

August 10, 2018

It’s surprisingly easy for a hacker to take control of the environmental sensors, traffic monitors and other internet-connected devices that power smart cities. With little more than some creative search-engine queries and tricks to get through or around authentication prompts, cyberattackers could take control of these systems and sow chaos in the cities that have embraced them as forward-thinking solutions, according to research released Thursday by IBM Security’s X-Force Red group and the cyber-research firm Threatcare.

The researchers examined smart-city products from three companies — Libelium, Echelon and Battelle — and discovered no fewer than 17 vulnerabilities that could allow hackers to commandeer sensors and data for malign purposes. In some instances, the hacks were as obvious as entering a factory-default password like “admin” or bypassing authentication requests by adding slashes to a URL.

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