Creative Connectivity - the site for eHealth, telematics and wireless

How to Hack a Smart Meter and Kill the Grid

And then all the lights went out.

Last week was a watershed for the embedded security community, and by implication everyone else.  Bloomberg announced that rogue chips had been found on the motherboards of servers sold by Super Micro Computer to companies like Amazon and Apple.  Whoever had added these during the manufacturing process would have acquired the ability to control and access data from the servers when those companies installed them.  For the first time, it appeared there was evidence that the supply chain could be disrupted.  That meant hacking was happening during the manufacturing process, before the products had even left the production line.

Up until now, hacking has predominantly been viewed as getting malicious code into a device which is “clean”, by exploiting security flaws in its code.  That’s what’s happened with every PC virus; attacks like the WannaCry ransomware, and state sponsored attacks such as Stuxnet and the recently discovered attempt by Russian hackers to infiltrate the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.  Although the concept of hacking a product before it has shipped has been discussed for years, the Bloomberg report signals that we’ve moved from academic debate to reality.

There is still debate about whether the report is correct.  Apple and Amazon deny much of the detail, but its publication has started people looking more closely at the supply line and concluding that whether or not it is true, the way we design, subcontract and manufacture complex electronic products today means that it is possible.  If it is true, this attack was probably commercial, where a company or a state wanted to discover what leading global companies were doing.  What is more worrying is the prospect of a future where malicious state actors target infrastructure with the aim of crippling a country.  Which brings me to smart meters. Continue →

October 8th, 2018 | Published in Smart Energy  |  5 Comments

Previously


Telling Lies about Smart Meters

Money for old rope…


British Smart Meters cost £28 million EACH

Amber Rudd is the latest victim of the curse of the Smart Meter…


13 Companies announce NB-IoT Chips

Could be unlucky for some…


Four Highlights from MWC2018

Where truth can be stranger than fiction.


What’s next for AirPods?

I hear, with my little ear, something beginning with A.


About Creative Connectivity

Creative Connectivity is Nick Hunn's blog on aspects and applications of wireless connectivity. Having worked with wireless for over twenty years I've seen the best and worst of it and despair at how little of its potential is exploited.

I hope that's about to change, as the demands of healthcare, energy and transport apply pressure to use wireless more intelligently for consumer health devices, smart metering and telematics. These are my views on the subject - please let me know yours.

You can Subscribe via RSS »



Usability & Design »

Apple sticks Five Fingers in the Air

It wasn’t what they showed; it’s what they said.