Russian ‘cyber war’ hackers could target smart meters in British homes

The devices, used to monitor a home's power usage, are among a handful of new technologies identified as the most vulnerable to cyber attacks.

CYBER hackers could soon be able to hack your home smart meter - crashing energy grids and plunging cities into blackouts, it is claimed.
The devices, used to monitor a home's power usage, are among a handful of new technologies identified as the most vulnerable to cyber attacks.
 Hackers could soon begin targeting smart meters to bring down energy grids, it is claimed
Getty - Contributor
Hackers could soon begin targeting smart meters to bring down energy grids, it is claimed
Author Charles Arthur, in his new book Cyber Wars, describes such attacks as the future of cyber warfare.

His warning comes just weeks following reports GCHQ raised concerns that smart meters are vulnerable to hackers hoping to steal personal details and defraud customers.
Charles' book describes how meters might communicate with utility companies to monitor usage, and in extreme circumstances, to support power cuts during shortages.

He writes: "What if... an attacker is able to break into a smart meter system and send an order telling the meters to turn off the electricity, and then orders them to wipe or change their cryptographic keys?
 There are smart meters in some 11 million homes across the UK
Getty - Contributor
There are smart meters in some 11 million homes across the UK
 Author Charles Arthur, in his new book Cyber Wars, describes such attacks as the future of cyber warfare
Author Charles Arthur, in his new book Cyber Wars, describes such attacks as the future of cyber warfare
"It would be like installing ransom-ware in every house’s electric meter; and you might not even know if the meters could be reset. You’d have to replace them.

"Such a tactic would hardly be the choice of an amateur hacker.
"But a nation state might choose to do it as an alternative to a direct attack, with the advantage that cyber attacks don’t leave missile trails back to their source.
"In a sense, it’s the opposite of a neutron bomb, which kills people but leaves buildings standing; a smart meter attack would disable the infrastructure, but (mostly) leave people unhurt.

"Without electricity, modern economies collapse, and might not recover."
The Government wants every home in Britain to have a smart meter. To date some 11 million houses have them installed.
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This effort has pushed ahead despite warnings of possible vulnerabilities eight years ago.
In 2010, Ross Anderson and Shailendra Fuloria from Cambridge University warned such an attack is "the cyber equivalent of a nuclear strike".
They noted "being able to turn out the lights in another country" was a "completely disabling strategic attack that would reduce the enemy population to nineteenth-century standards of living".

Robert Cheesewright, Director of Policy and Communications at Smart Energy GB, said: "Smart meters have been specifically designed to prevent the threats outlined and are one of the most secure pieces of technology being rolled out to every home in Great Britain.
"Security of the system has been at its heart from development through to implementation."

Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5922516/russia-cyber-war-hackers-smart-meters-british-homes-blackouts/

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