How Can We Keep Smart Power Grids Safe From Cyberattacks?
A huge cyberattack in 2016 took place where the hackers used millions of Internet-connected devices, such as routers, security cameras, webcams, printers, and baby monitors. An assistant professor at the Washington State University recently examined the threats to the national electric power grid by the IoT devices.
Hahn and Sebastian-Cardenas modeled the threat posed by “smart devices” and “smart homes” connected to the Internet, which could be used by hackers to control and damage the power grid.
This work was then presented at the 2019 Northwest Cybersecurity Symposium. Since smart homes can now remotely control climate, hackers could jeopardize the power grids’ operations by inserting malicious code into these devices, leading to blackouts and load shocks.
Sebastian-Cardenas and Hahn, the researchers, used real-world data to simulate the attacks. The result showed that the smart grid operations would suffer greatly. The fact that the connected devices are spreading fast is a point of concern, security-wise. Another issue is that there are no regulations in place on the devices being sold and how. If a device has poor security mechanism in place, it will still be sold, later leading to hacking risks. To combat this, the researchers suggest that the device manufacturers work with the government to create policies and stick to them.
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