Smart Meter Cyber Security Risks

Information security is a growing concern. Remote access to property data through smart devices can improve energy efficiency. Smart meters now play a crucial part in many commercial properties and households.

Being aware of security and privacy of sensitive data and how to protect from cyber threats is now more critical than ever. Most people understand and recognise the potential cybersecurity risks smart meters present, but not everyone can detect and respond to cybersecurity incidents when they occur.

Some hackers only want to prove that some smart meters are insecure. Some try to use weaknesses in security for financial gain. Some modify the meter software so that it reports incorrect energy usage. Some threaten to disconnect the meter remotely.

Security breaches can mean that utility companies are not just at risk of losing money, but a damaged reputation and diminished brand value can affect their company value.

Smart meters add complexity to protecting utility company systems and data from potential cyber threats. The additional data that smart meters collect and send to the utility company needs protecting from the time it’s created within the smart meter until the utility uses it. Communications have to be secure, the systems in which the data resides have to be protected, and there needs to be clear processes for securely handling that data.

Managing cybersecurity risk is about changing devices so that they think, act and react more securely. Security regulations are slowly becoming compulsory worldwide to help drive better security as governments are very concerned about privacy and security.

The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) is a centre of expertise for cyber security in Europe.

Smart meter secrecy measures ensure any unauthorised person cannot read the information. Sender and recipient authorisation controls access to meter data safety and the accuracy of each energy bill.

Utility companies and smart meter suppliers must continue to improve security against cyber risk. They have an incentive to protect themselves from potential reputation damage, regulatory action and higher costs.

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