Researchers Warn of Smart Grid Cyber Attack Opportunities
Why mess with someone's home electricity meter? Le Xie, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Texas A&M University, says it could provide attackers with the means to benefit financially. The article explains:
Utilities typically plan their energy requirements one day in advance. An attacker who manipulated apparent energy demands, forcing utilities to turn to emergency -- and more expensive -- energy resources could likewise place safe bets in the energy market.
Gambling against the price difference between the day-ahead market and the real-time market could be a real payoff.
Attackers also may want to cause chaos by taking out sensitive facilities or using usage patterns to determine when a consumer is on vacation and then burgling their house.
Another issue is that today's smart grid systems could have a life span of 10 or 20 years. With such a long life span, their built-in security will become widely known and disseminated. As the article notes:
Today's new smart grid meter could be 2030's cyber-catastrophe, or at least give rise to some new variation on Stuxnet.
As a starting point to protecting the smart grid, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a list of 189 security requirements to build a safe, secure and reliable smart grid.