A new survey has revealed that ninety-eight percent of IT professionals consider smart cities at risk for cyber attacks. Smart cities use IT solutions to manage a wide range of city services, including smart grids, transportation, surveillance cameras, wastewater treatment and more. Smart grids and other smart city services face unique and escalating cyber threats.

Tripwire, a global provider of security and compliance solutions for enterprises and industrial organizations, announced the results of the survey conducted by Dimensional Research.

The June survey assessed cybersecurity challenges associated with smart city technologies. Survey respondents included over 200 IT professionals working for state and local governments.

According to the survey, thirty-eight percent of respondents said smart grids have the greatest cybersecurity risks when compared to other smart city services and twenty percent said they have the smart city initiatives for their smart grids.

Fifty-five percent of the respondents believe cities do not devote adequate cyber security resources to smart city initiatives.

“Smart grids can help optimize utilities, but bring additional cyber security and regulatory challenges,” said Rekha Shenoy, vice president and general manager of industrial cyber security for Belden, Tripwire’s parent company. “Respondents to this survey seem to recognize these threats, but their smart city initiatives need further refinement. Identifying smart city cyber risks is just one step; smart cities need to translate this recognition into action.”

“Security isn’t usually glamorous, and it can be difficult to sell the need for added time and cost on a project, even when it’s to ensure that services are secure,” said Tim Erlin, senior director of IT security and risk strategy for Tripwire. “Smart city initiatives are pushing the technological envelope for urban infrastructure management, and it’s clear from the survey results that cybersecurity is being left out of the conversation.”

“Municipalities are dazzled by the promises of the Industrial Internet of Things, which can bring cost savings and improved efficiency. However, the dazzle will wear off quickly if smart city initiatives can’t keep up with new threats, regulatory requirements and hidden costs. In order to succeed, smart cities must actively protect their critical infrastructure,” added Shenoy.