Cyber criminals are increasingly using the Internet, as well as traditional spying techniques, to infiltrate the computer networks of power companies and the larger electrical grid that distributes power between states.
According to an investigative report WKYC TV in Cleveland, Ohio, “[t]he threat is about to get much bigger as the nation’s 3,000 power utilities continue to build the so-called Smart Grid.”
Refer to the archived video below, which originally aired in October 2012:
Note: WKYC-TV was the original source for the above video, and this website used a direct link when it was available. When it was later noted that the video was no longer available through WKYC, SkyVision Solutions substituted an archived copy.
Excerpt from WKYC-TV Report:
Where the current system only sends power to your home or business, the Smart Grid will use “smart meters” that allow customers can talk back to the utility over the Internet.
Currently, about a third of Ohio’s customers have these “smart meters.”
The Smart Grid is supposed to help customers reduce energy consumption because they can see their usage in real time and reduce usage accordingly.
It’s also supposed to prevent widespread outages by automatically rerouting around trouble spots.
But experts say the Smart Grid also gives cyber criminals new ways to infiltrate the system.
A few years ago, security company IOACTIVE performed a demonstration on how susceptible these smart meters can be. It hacked into one smart meter in Seattle and gained control of entire neighborhoods. …
“We’re behind the ball with security,” said Trevor Niblock, director of energy services at IOActive. “They don’t fully have a grasp on even what the threats and risks are in cyber space.”
Just last month, hackers broke into a company that designs software for the Smart Grid, taking files that could give them insight into how to launch a bigger attack.