Unlimited Vulnerabilities in the Smart Grid

The smart grid has been on my mind a lot lately – possibly because I've been seeing articles about it everywhere the past month, particularly regarding the Obama administration's support for it.

By Sue Poremba | Posted Dec 23, 2009
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The smart grid has been on my mind a lot lately – possibly because I've been seeing articles about it everywhere the past month, particularly regarding the Obama administration's support for it. And last week, I talked to a student working on his master's degree in IT whose research focuses on the smart grid and keeping it secure.


That grad student isn't alone in his thinking. The Future of Privacy Forum recently discussed the need for smart privacy.


And as an article in the Homeland Security Newswire points out:


"The smart grid is a theoretically closed network, but one with an access point at every home, business, and other electrical power user where a smart-grid device is installed; those devices, which essentially put the smarts into the grid, are computers with access to the network; in the same way attackers have found vulnerabilities in every other computer and software system, they will find vulnerabilities in smart-grid devices.”


An attack on the smart grid could wreak national – or international – disaster.


The federal government recognizes that making the smart grid secure needs to be a priority. The White House has released a document that discusses the general thought process behind its efforts:


"The probability of hacking into Smart Grid must be assumed to be 100%, and limitations of the damage possible by such entry must be a core element of the design. These designs should assume penetration of the network will take place at various layers and address responses on the network and in legal enforcements that are effective.”
 

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