However, cyber security experts said that some types of meters can be hacked, as can other points in the Smart Grid’s communications systems. IOActive, a professional security services firm, ascertained that an attacker with $500 of equipment and materials and a backdrop in electronics and software engineering could take command and control of the advanced meter infrastructure allowing for the en masse manipulation of service to homes and businesses.
Experts said that once in the system, a hacker could acquire control of thousands, even millions, of meters and shut them off at the same time. A cyber-terrorist also might be able to dramatically increase or reduction the call for power, interrupting the load balance on the local power grid and causing a brownout. These experts said such a localized power outage would cascade to other parts of the grid, expanding the blackout. No one knows how big it could get.