AUGUST 1, 2014
Your regular source of security updates from TrendLabsSM
In This Issue

Security Spotlight
Cybercriminals Prove Two-Factor Authentication Can Be as Holey as Emmental

Security for Home Users
The Dawn of the Internet of Everything: Smart Meters

Security for Business
What Real Targeted Attacks Are Like



Security for Home Users

The Dawn of the Internet of Everything: Smart Meters

It’s clear that consumers and utility providers alike benefit from smart meter use. Their efficiency, reliability, cost-saving capability, and sustainability certainly allow us to get what we simply can’t live without.”



The Internet of Everything (IoE) or the Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the latest technology trends, as vendors release all manners of “smart” appliances and devices. While still obviously in its infancy, as homes have yet to become fully automated and roads yet to be filled with driverless cars, IoE is rapidly gaining traction in utilities management in more advanced countries.

Enter smart meters, which keep track of how much water/gas/electricity each household consumes and directly transmit data to utility providers.

Smart meters eliminate the human factor in reading and checking analog meters across communities, cities, or even countries. Their information tracking feature also helps households monitor their utility consumption. It’s clear that consumers and utility providers alike benefit from smart meter use. Their efficiency, reliability, cost-saving capability, and sustainability certainly allow us to get what we simply can’t live without.

Smart Everything

In case of a power outage, smart meters allow electricity providers to easily know which areas are affected based on the data they send to control centers. This allows them to more quickly get power back on, eliminating the need for unnecessary “analog” processes and improving customer satisfaction. Certain parts of Europe—Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom—are already using smart meters. And it’s only a matter of time until the rest of the world follows suit.

But we can’t just exclude the security implications of using IoE-capable devices. We’ve seen devices developed for niche purposes abused and exploited, resulting in privacy concerns. We have, for instance, seen smart light bulbs turned into burglary enablers and baby monitors turned into wiretapping devices. Smart devices were designed to help consumers but could be turned into threats by cybercriminals.

Risky Scenarios

Using unsecured smart meters can put households and utility providers at risk. Questions like “Can smart meters be hacked?” and “Can home owners hack their own smart meters to ‘lower’ their consumption?” are surfacing. Although these may seem like doomsday scenarios right out of a Hollywood movie script, there’s a certain likelihood that they can happen.

IoE devices can certainly make our lives more convenient but can also provide new opportunities for privacy invasion and cybercrime. Technology is great but let’s keep security in mind to fully enjoy its benefits.

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