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Smart grid updates present opportunities for hackers

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The investment into the development of the U.S. smart grid benefits utilities and consumers, but it also presents a myriad of new challenges to cyber security specialists as a number of critical components are vulnerable to hackers, according to a published report.

Info Security reports that smart grid security measures need to be updated as computers play an increasingly more important role in the U.S. power supply network. Currently, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), along with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) are responsible for implementing critical infrastructure protections (CIP).

SRI International program director Ulf Lindqvist affirmed that many parts of the smart grid are susceptible to cyber attacks.

"When you introduce computers everywhere in the grid – in the generation, transmission, distribution, and metering in homes – then you also introduce security risks," Lindqvist said. "Unfortunately, it is very common that when new infrastructure is introduced, security is more of an afterthought."

Many security experts and industry analysts recommend that utilities take care when performing upgrades on automated substations and other transmission and distribution systems. A growing number of experts assert that systems and products should be implemented that adhere to current CIP laws established by NERC.

SUBNET Solutions offers a wide array of products and systems that are used by some of the biggest utilities in the U.S. and are up-to-date in their cyber security protections. 

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