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ECT News Community   »   TechNewsWorld Talkback   »   Re: How Smart Grids Could Empower Hackers

Re: How Smart Grids Could Empower Hackers
Posted by: Jordan Robertson 2009-08-03 17:38:15
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The race to build a "smarter" electrical grid could have a dark side. Security experts are starting to show the dangers of equipping homes and businesses with new meters that enable two-way communication with utilities. There are many benefits to upgrading the nation's electricity networks, which is why a smart-grid movement was already revving up before the recent economic recovery package included $4.5 billion for the technology. Smarter grids could help conserve energy by giving utilities more control over and insight into how power flows.

Securing the grid
Posted by: akcoyote 2009-08-03 17:55:43 In reply to: Jordan Robertson
The electrical distribution grid has already been proven to be insecure. This is not speculation or even an open question.

An insecure grid has major national security implications, both in times of conventional conflict and with the ability to severely damage or cripple a nation's economy in times of 'peace' for any national or individual motive.

We need regulation that imposes a requirement for fully certified and on-going testing of any national grid (electrical, pipelines, airline and railroad traffic control, water and dams, etc. Self-certification is for fools, McDonald's and Wal-Mart.

We should also require any such grids to be fully disconnected from the public internet. Initially, VPN technology might work, but long term a different physical network might be required/

This doesn't necessarily require the trenching and laying of separate cables, just split off a few fibers in existing bundles. No network is ever going to be secure from physical attack, but it could be isolated from international hacking fairly easily.

Unless we get really serious about addressing these threats, we (and every other industrialized nation) are going to be vulnerable to hackers from every flea-bitten corner of the world. In case you missed it, computer nerds are ubiquitous and motivated by money, philosophy, ego and every other incentive that exists.

Complacency is not an option!
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