Hacking the Smart Grid

One researcher shows how your house’s power could be shut down remotely, but the threat is only theoretical–for now.

By Robert Lemos – MONDAY, APRIL 05, 2010

Components of the next-generation smart-energy grid could be hacked in order to change household power settings or to spoof communications with a utility’s network, according to a study of three pilot implementations.

The problems were highlighted in a presentation given last week by security researcher Joshua Wright of InGuardians, a consulting firm with many infrastructure companies among its clients. Vulnerabilities discovered by Wright could let attackers remotely connect to a device or to intercept communications with the managing power company.

The report caused a kerfuffle, and InGuardians has refused to disclose further details. However, one expert familiar with the content of Wright’s presentation says that it highlights security problems with many devices. “These are fairly common mistakes,” says Marcus Sachs, director of the Internet Storm Center, part of the SANS Institute, where Wright presented his research. “Most of the wireless meters are subject to the same vulnerabilities that we saw [in Wi-Fi devices] 10 years ago.”

Read more at Technology Review

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