Industry News

Urban OS makes cities smarter

Mac OS X Yosemite Leaks User Location and Search Results to Apple
But will they be safe too?

A recent project aims at developing dedicated operating systems for cities. With the help of sensors scattered across the future intelligent metropolis, the platform – named Urban OS – could better integrate systems and services, and improve resource management and consumption, while reducing expenditure on infrastructure development and maintenance.

It would probably also enhance urban dwellers’ interaction with public services such as transportation, and increase population retention and quality and diversity of social life.

While a research firm considers that the necessary conditions for a city to effectively be intelligent are the smart economy, environment, governance, lifestyle, transportation and community, it is interesting to note the lack of any mention of a concept that is already a common practice among the majority of computer users– OS security.

Of course, one could imply that as long as the system is completely autonomous by circumventing today’s individuals involved in communicating, manipulating and analyzing the data that currently govern the infrastructure and services there would be no need to worry. Sure, the chances that a science-fiction apocalyptic scenario starring the giant mainframe computer taking over the city by its own will are almost inexistent.

But the possibility of a dark mastermind infiltrating the network through a breach and annihilating an entire metropolis with the help of several lines of code is more likely. And we’ve all witnessedit, not only in the “fire sale” depicted by the action drama movies, but also in recent history, when the Stuxnet worm crippled Iran’s nuclear program. If that was the result of a single worm attacking several computers, what would the outcome of a malware attacking the OS of an entire city?

Safe surfing everybody!

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About the author

Răzvan LIVINTZ

With a humanities passion and background (BA and MA in Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest) - complemented by an avid interest for the IT world and its stunning evolution, I joined in the autumn of 2003 the chief editors' team from Niculescu Publishing House, as IT&C Chief Editor, where (among many other things) I coordinated the Romanian version of the well-known SAMS Teach Yourself in 24 Hours series. In 2005 I accepted two new challenges and became Junior Lecturer at the Faculty of Letters (to quote U2 - "A Sort of Homecoming") and Lead Technical Writer at BluePhoenix Solutions.

After leaving from BluePhoenix in 2008, I rediscovered "all that technical jazz" with the E-Threat Analysis and Communication Team at BitDefender, the creator of one of the industry's fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified security software. Here I produce a wide range of IT&C security-related content, from malware, spam and phishing alerts to technical whitepapers and press releases. Every now and then, I enjoy scrutinizing the convolutions of e-criminals' "not-so-beautiful mind" and, in counterpart, the new defensive trends throughout posts on www.hotforsecurity.com.

Balancing the keen and until late in night (please read "early morning") reading (fiction and comparative literature studies mostly) with Internet "addiction", the genuine zeal for my bright and fervid students with the craze for the latest discoveries in science and technology, I also enjoy taking not very usual pictures (I'm not a pro, but if you want to see the world through my lenses, here are some samples http://martzipan.blogspot.com), messing around with DTP programs to put out some nifty book layouts and wacky t-shirts, roaming the world (I can hardly wait to come back in the Big Apple), and last but not least, driving my small Korean car throughout the intricacies of our metropolis's traffic.