Last week's US internet outage highlights IoT and cyber vulnerabilities, writes Claire Volkwyn, editor, Metering & Smart Energy International.
Friday last week saw a massive Internet ‘outage’ that affected large parts of the East Coast of the US. Caused by a large denial of service (Ddos) attack, the effects of the outage were felt well into the weekend.
According to a post in the MIT Technology Review yesterday, “when the Internet apocalypse comes, your smart thermostat may be to blame. That’s the lesson from last week’s epic Internet outage, in which attackers used Internet-connected devices inside people's homes to bring a large chunk of the Web to its knees."
It has been determined that the outage was caused by "hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected devices—from Web cameras to routers—that had been hacked to contribute to the attack.”
As the Industrial Internet of Things becomes more of a reality within the utility sector, this raises serious questions about the robustness of security, defences and the ability of utility infrastructure to withstand a sustained attack on its systems.
As we become more connected, are we effectively 'going to bed at night with the front door wide open and the combination to the safe pinned to the door?'
Navigant Research forecasts global utility spending on customer engagement to reach $774 million by 2022. Findings by the research firm state that global utilities will invest $636 million toward customer engagement technologies by the end of 2016. [Utility sector to invest $774m in customer engagement tech]. In a press statement, Navigant Research said utilities will increase their investments in upgrading their web portals with energy saving tools and customer centric data in a bid to improve customer engagement in programmes including energy efficiency and demand response.
According to a new report, non-revenue water is expected to drive utility smart meter adoption in Europe by 28% over the next ten years. The research complied by independent insight firm Bluefield Research noted that smart water meter deployments across Europe will increase by 28% from an installed base of 11 million meters. [Non-revenue water to drive European smart water meter market]. The firm anticipates that big data will play a key role in the water industry moving forward.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Huawei for research and development of smart city technologies. Under the terms of the agreement, the two parties will work together to conduct research and development of smart technologies including smart grid, smart meters, demand side management and data analytics. [DEWA signs MoU with Huawei on smart city tech development]. Huawei will also upgrade and secure DEWA’s telecommunication infrastructure against cyber attacks.
US power utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) selected energy storage firm Green Charge to participate in its distributed energy resources management pilot. Under the pilot, Green Charge has been tasked to develop energy storage systems for PG&E customers participating in the pilot in San Jose, California. [PG&E deploys energy storage in DER pilot]. The energy storage systems will be used to store energy during off-peak periods and supply the stored energy into utility’s grid network during peak periods.