Smart Meters Pose Security Risks to Consumers, Utilities: Researcher
January 5, 2017
Seid Yassin (557 articles)

Smart Meters Pose Security Risks to Consumers, Utilities: Researcher

Serious vulnerabilities in smart electricity meters continue to expose both consumers and electric utilities to cyberattacks. However, some have questioned claims that hackers can cause these devices to explode.

Smart electricity meters allow service providers to remotely monitor consumption and connect or disconnect power, and they enable consumers to better understand their energy usage. Millions of devices have already been deployed and governments around the world plan on completely replacing traditional meters in the next few years.

Smart meter vulnerabilities

Between 2010 and 2012, several experts detailed the security and privacy implications of using smart meters, and SecureState even released an open source framework designed for finding vulnerabilities in such devices.

However, according to Netanel Rubin, who recently founded Vaultra, a company that develops security solutions for the smart industry, smart meters continue to lack proper security mechanism, allowing malicious actors to use these devices to target both consumers and utilities.

In a presentation at the 33rd Chaos Communication Congress (33C3) in Hamburg, Germany, Rubin analyzed the methods that can be used to hack smart meters. The expert said that while physical attacks are more difficult due to various protection mechanisms, remote software hacking can be much easier to conduct.

The protocols used by smart meters include ZigBee, which is used for communicating with smart appliances in the consumer’s home, and GSM, which is used for communications between the meter and the electric utility. Both ZigBee and GSM have been known to contain serious vulnerabilities, and they have been poorly implemented in smart meters.

Source | securityweek