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Experts: Enhanced smart grid cyber security measures needed

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Friday, August 19, 2011

A slew of recent studies have found that consumers are increasingly embracing smart grid technologies. Still, as many utilities upgrade their power supply networks, the threat of hackers infiltrating smart grid cyber security systems is becoming increasingly pronounced, experts assert. 

Fast Company reports that smart grid operators have a huge challenge on their hands as they upgrade antiquated infrastructure. Industry analysts contend there are significant cyber security issues that must be addressed as the pace of critical infrastructure development quickens, with the U.S. electric grid at a heightened risk of attack.

The failure of utilities to implement improved smart grid cyber security protocols would have an altogether disastrous effect on consumers, experts say. As electric vehicles surge in popularity, for example, the need for additional critical infrastructure protections (CIP) has similarly risen.

Analysts affirm hackers can potentially infiltrate electric vehicles' computer systems without improved CIP laws, leaving a driver helpless as his car is nefariously controlled by a cyber criminal.

To prevent hackers from gaining access to the electric grid, U.S. officials have proposed legislation that would effectively require enhanced background checks for certain utility workers. Furthermore, they have also moved to craft enhanced cyber security guidelines that would protect against such attacks.

With Pike Research studies indicating utilities will invest billions of dollars in smart grid development over the coming decade, the need for enhanced cyber security measures is of the utmost importance, experts assert.

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