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Security

Eurobites: Smart cities need to up their security game, says UK spies' HQ

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: LoRaWAN for water control in Poland; Orange Business Services lands SD-WAN gig; Telecom Italia confuses with story rebuttal.

  • The UK's National Cyber Security Centre has sounded a warning about the potential risks of smart city – or what it calls "connected place" – technologies, issuing a set of security principles which it believes can help city authorities reduce the threat from would-be hackers of their systems. In its introduction to its Connected Places: Cyber Security Principles, the NCSC – which is part of the UK's military intelligence body GCHQ – says: "Some countries seek to obtain sensitive commercial and personal data from overseas, including from the UK. They may also seek the potential to cause disruption to overseas services. Suppliers that are part of corporate groups based in these countries may be subject to influence from those governments to access and exfiltrate data from UK connected places, in support of those countries’ security and intelligence services." Who can it be referring to?

  • In other smart city news, Piekary Śląskie in Poland is playing host to what its backers claim is the country's largest LoRaWAN network for water-supply monitoring and management. The network was put together using gateways from Kerlink and sensors from AIUT. Commissioned by the city's water and sewerage company, the system includes approximately 6,500 IoT smart devices attached to water meters for transmitting usage data to the system's central water-control office.

  • Orange Business Services has landed an SD-WAN contract with Brunel, a Dutch recruitment company. Built on Cisco's Meraki platform and integrated with the Microsoft Azure public cloud, the network will connect Brunel's offices across the world.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has issued a frankly baffling rebuttal of press stories claiming that the Italian government had withdrawn support for TIM's plan for a single national fiber network. "TIM points out that the interpretations reported by the press relating to the content of the Italian Recovery and Resilience Plan – the purpose of which is the digitisation of the country and the completion of the network in areas where private investments are insufficient – are entirely inappropriate and unsubstantiated," begins the release. Fair enough. But then: "…the relationship between the aforementioned Plan and possible aggregations of companies currently operating in the sector is not understood given that, as mentioned several times also by government representatives, these aggregations are included among market operations exclusively subject to the will of the companies involved and their shareholders." Got that? (See Telecom Italia loses game of fiber monopoly to EU and Eurobites: Telecom Italia loses government support for single network plan.)

  • Some UK users of BT's Smart Hub 2 router say it's mucking up their in-home Wi-Fi, according to a BBC report. The problem, apparently, is the fact that the router uses two different wireless frequencies, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, which means that devices using different frequencies can't talk to each other. BT said it was aware of the problem and apologized for any inconvenience caused.

  • Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, has told operators and broadband providers that they still need to up their game on the customer service front, with broadband and landline customers facing an average contact center wait time of 4 minutes and 9 seconds, which is around twice as long as the equivalent figure in 2019. Mobile customers faced a similar significant increase in wait times. Ofcom also criticized those operators who had failed to introduce "social tariffs," despite the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic. (See Ofcom warns UK operators to stop threatening vulnerable customers.)

  • UK altnet CityFibre has rolled into Cheltenham, beginning its £30 million (US$42 million) network construction in the Alstone district of the town. The whole project is expected to reach completion by the end of 2023 but the first services will go live before then.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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