As with all wirelessly-connected electronic devices, smart meters–and in turn, the smart grid–are vulnerable to hackers. And if the smart grid is hacked, well, there goes the neighborhood’s (or the city’s) power. CNN recently demonstrated how a hacker equipped with $500 worth of equipment could take control of the grid, and now Mike Davis, a security consultant at IOActive, has presented a laundry list of ways that hackers could disrupt the smart grid.
Davis claims that enterprising hackers could put a needle on each side of a smart meter’s memory chip to intercept and analyze electrical signals, which in turn provides information on the meter’s programming. Similarly, codes from a smart meters two-way radio chip can be intercepted and extracted with the syringe method. Once a hacker has access to these codes, she can log on to the smart grid network and issue commands. Hackers could also attack smart meter hardware by reverse-engineering it or they could use a software radio to listen to wireless communications and figure out how to interact with them.