Lights Out: US Smart Grid Vulnerable to Hackers around the World

Photo: fsu.edu
Photo: fsu.edu

As the Department of Energy seeks to implement the Smart Grid, a modern electricity network delivering power using two-way digital communications technology, has also created points of vulnerabilities in the U.S. power grid.

Kenneth Van Meter, general manager of Energy and Cyber Services for Lockheed Martin, whose company has partnered with DOE to implement cybersecurity solutions for the grid, sat down with SmartPlanet.com for a far-reaching  interview on the hidden cyber pitfalls of switching to the Smart Grid.

“Right now, if I wanted to cut off the power to your house,” he said, “I’d climb the pole, and there’s a manual switch. Everything’s physical. Once we have a smart grid in place, I could do that from China.”

Van Meter also said as implementation progresses, there will be “440 million new hackable points on the grid. Nobody’s equipped to deal with that today.”

But Van Meter suggested the Smart Grid is not a bad idea, only that the switch to digital opens up the door to cyber saboteurs—simply a fact of life in the 21st century.

He told SmartPlanet:

“The smart grid is a tremendous idea, and we need to do it. We can’t not do it. We will never be able to manage and control our power usage at an efficient level unless we can mechanically control it, so it’s absolutely essential that we do it, given that.”

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