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Could Hackers Break into Your Electric Meter? Scientific American Article (Read 3432 times)
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Could Hackers Break into Your Electric Meter? Scientific American Article
Sep 20th, 2011 at 10:02pm
 
"If someone in a utility control room can read your meter remotely, shut off power to your house, and modulate individual appliances to shed load during peak hours, then so could hackers. As the number of smart meters grows, so does the incentive for criminals and terrorists to misuse them. Concern has been mounting for several years. In early 2009, IOActive, a security firm, demonstrated how little it takes is to break into smart-meter networks. Last year, computer security expert Nate Lawson of Root Labs hacked a smart meter radio module he’d bought on eBay for $30."

"By monitoring your power use, utilities get to know rather more about your household routines than you’d like them to. It never ceases to amaze me how much you can learn from simple wattage measurements. Each appliance in your house causes a telltale fluctuation in power, and websites such as PlotWatt and EnerSave can analyze the output of a home power monitor to see how often you run what appliance—useful self-knowledge for those of us looking for ways to conserve energy. Imagine what marketers (let alone burglars) would pay for that information."

"One goal of the meters is to let utilities vary electricity rates by time of day to encourage conservation; you could program electron-guzzlers such as air-conditioners and electric car chargers to take advantage of off-peak rates. But if hackers could manipulate the rates, they might cause vast number of appliances to turn on or off at inopportune moments and bring the whole grid crashing down."

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/solar-at-home/2011/08/11/could-hackers-break...

A government cyberwar exercise in 2007, shown vividly in footage obtained by CNN, caused a generator to self-destruct. In effect the generator was forced to fight the raw mechanical power of the rest of the grid, and lost.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJyWngDco3g

Root Labs hacked a smart meter radio module he’d bought on eBay for $30:
http://rdist.root.org/2010/02/15/reverse-engineering-a-smart-meter/

There is no protection on a smart meter against a EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) which could be as simple as a coil of wire and a battery at close range. It could blow the electronics in the meter or simply change memory bits which might change the rate figures or readings. It could also trigger the electric cut off circuit and allow burglars to cut your power even if your breaker box is locked.

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