PhD Candidate Represents UKZN at the Smart Cities Forum

Doctoral candidate in Information Systems and Technology Mr Vicent Mbonye delivered a presentation titled: Tackling the imminent cyber security challenges in African smart cities, at the Smart Cities Forum in Johannesburg.

The presentation was part of Mbonye’s study supervised by Drs Indira Padayachee and Rontala Prabhakar which focuses on securing smart cities in line with the UKZN research flagship of African Cities of the Future – Most Liveable Cities.

‘My presentation looked at the role of governance in implementing security guidelines, standards and regulations in smart cities. I applied to participate in the forum following guidance from my supervisors to present some thoughts on cyber security in smart cities to the organisers of the smart city summit and I was selected to share some aspects of my research,’ said Mbonye.

He added that the presentation highlighted the nature of the extensive interconnectivity of smart cities that leads to large scale cyber-attacks that cut across borders.

‘Various attacks like the Maria bot attack on IoT devices that are core to implementing smart cities make it a challenge to carry out digital forensics after a cyber-security breach, especially without well-aligned cyber security regulations and converged standards. This was seen as one of the challenges that African smart cities must take into consideration. While a citizen centric approach is undertaken to create smart cities, there is great need to address the challenges caused by a huge digital divide among city inhabitants,’ said Mbonye.

Speakers at the forum highlighted the need to create knowledge and new models that could be applied from an African perspective.

‘One major challenge in smart cities is ensuring inter-operability among the different technologies that are core to implementing such cities. Addressing cyber security concerns could make interoperability a reality. Going forward I plan to work with my supervisors to create such a model for South Africa,’ said Mbonye.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo
Photograph: Supplied