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As the smart building market grows, so do the security risks

As the smart building market grows, so do the security risks

Nearly 4 in 10 smart building surveyed have been affected by a malicious cyberattack, according to report

Capable of near real-time data transfer speeds and reduced latency, 5G is expected to facilitate more and better IoT applications for intelligent building technologies over the next few years. Further, as 5G rollouts accelerate, 5G-enabled IoT applications are being introduced at an increasing rate, and therefore, the smart building market is taking off. However, new research shows that these structures, while undeniably intelligent, may also be at much greater risk of cyberattack than originally thought.

According to research from MarketsandMarkets, the smart building market is projected to grow from $60.7 billion in 2019 to $105.8 billion by 2024, with the energy management and commercial building segments expected to grow the fastest. The report cites the rising adoption of IoT-enabled building management system and increasing awareness of space utilization as critical drivers behind the impressive market growth.

As vehicles, buildings, and in some cases, entire cities strive to become smarter and more connected, security becomes a bigger and bigger piece of the puzzle. The very applications that make people really excited about 5G, like drones delivering packages or autonomous vehicles, are the same applications that are the riskiest if they should become compromised.

And in some cases, such as a hacker gaining control of smart traffic lights or compromising a smart hospital’s control system, these breaches could mean life or death, as MobileIron’s engineer Russ Mohr told RCR Wireless News earlier this week.

Global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky recently analyzed data from 40,000 smart buildings worldwide that use the firm’s security products and found that nearly 4 in 10, or 37.8%, of these buildings had been affected by a malicious cyberattack. In most cases, these cyberattacks were attempting to infect the computers that control smart building automation systems.

When broken down by type of attack, the report found that variants of spyware (11%), worms (10.8%), phishing (7.8%) and ransomware (4.2%) accounted for nearly all of the cyberattacks at the smart buildings.

Transforming a regular ol’ building into a smart building is quite the undertaking. For example, a recent announcement from Connectivity Wireless Solutions to use 5G to turn Coretrust Capital Partners’ downtown Los Angeles tower into a smart building included a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) comprised of 317 multi-band antennas and 20 software defined remotes for fiber optic connectivity that cover the 1,244,925 million square feet of the 48-story tower.

That is a lot of antennas and square feet to keep secure, and as use cases for 5G become more and more critical, so does the need for better, revamped security practices.

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