Smart grid may have safety blind spot

While companies are itching to jump on the smart grid bandwagon, rushing the process might leave holes open for hackers.

07/08/2009


In a radio report by American Public Media, possible security threats to a national smart grid system are explored through three different viewpoints. With the nation's utilities and companies rushing to procure a slice of the $3.9 billion in smart grid federal funds , some feel that the money will lead to hasty decisions that will leave the nation's utility grid open to hackers.

Mike Davis, cyber security consultant for IOActive , said he thinks the technology is immature. His firm developed a test virus that could infiltrate "smart" meters and cut power to entire neighborhoods, or even cities. Similarly, James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies knows that smart grid security must be considered before it is implemented, not as an afterthought.

However, government regulators claim that they are already doing their best to prioritize security for the smart grid. The National Institute of Standards and Technology ( NIST ) is currently drafting a Standards Roadmap for a smart grid for the federal government. NIST official Annabelle Lee said that they will be better prepared for cyber security after years of experience with the Internet.
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