- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 03 Jul 2017
Engineering resilience to human threats
Speaking at the first Preparing London for Change Lecture, three experts set out how the industry can become more resilient to human threats.
Speaking at the first Preparing London for Change Lecture on 27 March, the three speakers looked at human threats to London's core systems, considering how the construction sector can prevent and mitigate the damage caused by these threats.
By looking at how an attack could take place, engineers can design public areas and infrastructure hotspots to make it easier for the authorities and harder for the terrorists to act. Modelling these scenarios and adding certain design features can help dissuade terrorists from attacking the location and can save lives if they do.
Nathan Jones from Turner and Townsend covered the different ways that organisations can come under attack from cyberspace, exploring how criminals can steal data, blackmail or hold to ransom businesses by hacking into their online systems.
Nathan also looked at the growing number of large organisations that have publicly reported being hacked and the increasing dangers from smart infrastructure systems using sensors and big data. His answer was not to avoid these new technologies, but for civil engineers to become more aware of the vulnerabilities and how cyber-attacks can be avoided.
He highlighted that cyber-attacks come in many forms, from governments to a teenager sitting in his living room. One particular form of cyber-attack which is becoming more prevalent is from disgruntled employees hacking their company's system.
Amanda Widdowson from Thales concluded the lecture by examining the human factors related to cyber-attacks, where errors by people installing or operating digital infrastructure opens up vulnerabilities in the system.
Incidents include the use of tailgating to get access to a building or not changing network passwords from their default settings. Sensitive information can also be leaked from unsuspecting employees who speak on the phone in public areas or who are active on social media.
Amanda was clear that blaming employees for such incidents can lead to future incidents not being reported. Instead, there are actions organisations can take to reduce the risk of human-related cyber security incidents.
This article was originally published here on 4 April 2017 by ICE. It was written by Max Sugerman.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Articles by ICE on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Buildings that help rebuild lives and communities.
- Critical infrastructure is more vulnerable than ever. It doesn’t have to be that way.
- Cyber threats to building automation and control systems.
- Designing resilient cities: a guide to good practice (EP 103).
- Digital communications and infrastructure dependencies.
- Infrastructure and cyber attacks.
- Security and the built environment.
Featured articles and news
Whole-life costs consider all costs associated with the life of a building, from inception to disposal. Find out more here.
Reports emerge of injuries caused by Apple employees colliding with the campus' glazed walls.
The winners of NIC's ideas competition on transforming the Cambridge to Oxford arc discuss their concept.
Create new habitats and improve air quality and wellbeing.
New report provides 12 key actions which could close the structural talent gap in the construction industry.
These can be used to find out whether a proposed development is likely to be approved. Read more here.
Studying a built environment degree? Check out our helpful student resources section.
New BRE research paper explores how blockchain technology can benefit the built environment industry.
Timber is a natural carbon sink, but it must not end up in landfill at the end of its useful life.
BSRIA has collaborated with the Department of Health on research into air permeability in isolation rooms.