Sydney and Melbourne have both been ranked within the top 10 Safe Cities Index 2015 released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The report is based on an index composed of more than 40 quantitative and qualitative indicators split across four categories – digital security, health security, infrastructure safety and personal safety.
However within the digital security category, Sydney ranked at 14 and Melbourne 20. The top ranked city was Tokyo, primarily due to the sophistication of its technology assets.
The index measures digital security based on the extent of resources dedicated to ensuring that citizens can use the Internet and other digital technologies without fear of privacy violations or identity theft.
Cities are also scored on their reliance on digital infrastructure, the level of technology employed and the existence of dedicated cyber security teams. It also measures the frequency of identity theft and the estimated number of computers infected with a virus.
The report also factored in how technology will be the frontline of urban safety with data being used to tackle crime, monitor infrastructure and limit the spread of diseases.
It warns cities should be more vigilant against cybercrime especially when they’re hosting large sporting events and offering free public access to Wi-Fi.
“Those gatherings become attractive to hackers because they know there will be massive influxes of people,” Kroll founder and senior managing director, Alan Brill, said in the report.
Another aspect to consider was the vulnerabilities associated with the increasing reliance on digital technology for running urban services such as traffic management. It pointed to the ‘Internet of Things’ bringing convenience and efficiencies to cities and used the example of wireless sensors fitted to key infrastructure to generate real-time data, allowing authorities to anticipate and solve road congestion.
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It also touched on the aggressive uptake of video surveillance (CCTV) across many cities as well as wearable technology and security risks they could pose.
This could also pave a new way for hackers to do their best work and potentially bring city services to a standstill, the report said.
“Imagine if the lights went green in all directions,” Brill said. “The question is – are we thinking about the cyber vulnerability of things that have not traditionally been cyber?”
The index focuses on 50 cities that were selected by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) based on factors such as regional representation and availability of data.