Security News

‘Smart Meters’ and ‘Grids’ Are Next Cybercrime Victims

July 14, 2014

Every day, people live, work, and play with ease and comfort thanks to one easily overlooked resource: power. It is common for most to wake up to the wonders of indoor lighting, longer food shelf life, perfect room temperature, and connected devices. But what happens when these are taken away? Everyday life could get chaotic for the individual, and even more so once this disruption causes business costs to skyrocket and a city's services and operations fail.

With that being said, a strong power grid and meter system is a requirement for a strong city. New technologies such as smart meters and smart grids have the power to make life easier for many with the way they transform the way power is consumed, distributed, and tracked. The modernized electric grid and meter are among the pioneering technologies under the umbrella of the “Internet of Everything.” Each is designed to gather and act on information so that operations can be automated.

With the power of the grid comes the logical “smartification” of the electric meter. With “smart meters,” there will no longer be hour-long outages left unreported as there will be sensors for this. Consumers can also better track their consumption and adjust their usage or review their bills.

However, the benefits afforded by advanced technology almost always come with a dark side. While network-connected smart grids and meters bring new, convenient features to the table, they could also expose consumers to cybercrime. Cybercriminals will try to find ways to crack these smart grids and meters and steal the information in them. And since these meters cover a wide range of targets, cybercriminal activity won't be limited to information theft.

To help you understand how this can happen, we created a video showing how smart meters could become vulnerable to the same types of problems as any other network or application. Here, we present the various scenarios by which smart meters can be attacked. This covers cybercriminal activities like individual hackers who try to get into their neighbors’ smart meters or organized ones who may try to hostage an entire community’s energy supply to squeeze money out of governments.

In the end, power is power. With power now distributed via smarter technologies like smart meters and grids, consumers and large groups are called on to ensure that securing them remains a top priority.

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