Week in smart metering - IoT cyber security challenge

Last week's US internet outage highlights IoT and cyber vulnerabilities, writes Claire Volkwyn, editor, Metering & Smart Energy International.
Published: Wed 26 Oct 2016

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?'

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