Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Wireless Networks Exposed as Electricity Grid Weakest Link


A smart meter.

Researchers say smart meters rely on inherently insecure wireless networks, which opens them up to significant vulnerabilities.

Credit: Inhabitat.com

Australian researchers have determined that hackers can exploit numerous security flaws in smart meters on the electricity grid. The researchers say that although smart meters eliminate the need for human meter readers and help make the grid more efficient, they rely on inherently insecure wireless networks to transmit information though parts of the system, leading to significant vulnerabilities.

"[Using full security features] is not going to be popular, but do you want electricity coming down that cable or do you want a free-for-all for cyber criminals to cause havoc?" says ECU Security Research Institute professor Craig Valli.

In a recent experiment, the researchers were able to intercept communications between smart grid devices using eavesdropping software. Valli says that although they were unable to find the key to decrypt the messages, it is just a matter of time and resources, and in a few years it could be possible with freely available programs.

From Science Network Western Australia
View Full Article

 

Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


Read CACM in a free mobile app!
Access the latest issue, plus archived issues and more
ACM Logo
  • ACM CACM apps available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, and Android platforms
  • ACM Digital Library apps available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices
  • Download an app and sign in to it with your ACM Web Account
Find the app for your mobile device
ACM DL Logo