Q&A: How Saudi Arabia is securing its $500 billion smart city, Neom

Mike Loginov, Neom's CISO, explains how he is taking on the enormous task of building an intelligent and reliable security system for the mega smart city -- really a cluster of multiple towns and cities in an area the size of Belgium.

mike loginov
Mike Loginov

Neom is the smart-city centerpiece of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 plan to grow and diversify its economy. Located in the country's north-west, covering an area roughly the size of Belgium, the project -- actually a cluster of several towns and cities -- will be developed from the ground up and incorporate multiple levels of security.

Mike Loginov, Neom's CISO (chief information security officer), is undertaking the colossal task of building an intelligent and reliable security system for the project. Neom is one of a growing number of major smart city initiatives in the Middle East that is leading to adoption of IoT networking and related technology, including machine learning and 5G mobile platforms.

Smart cities integrate these emerging technologies to monitor and control infrastructure and the flow of data, with the goal of improving the standard of living for residents.

Smart cities, though, potentially offer many different avenues of attack for hackers. Loginov's job is to ensure that the operational technologies, along with the millions of IoT devices at the core of the project, are developed with built-in security that can repel potential threats.

In a career spanning over three decades, the former security engineer from the U.K. has led the cybersecurity programs of several high-profile companies, including HP.

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