Are Smart Metering Systems Secure?

Are smart metering secure-min

With the development of a better and more reliable smart grid, connected sensors, like smart meters, are becoming an essential solution for business and private consumers alike. The smart meter market is seeing stable growth, led by the EU where just in the latter there are near 200 million electricity smart meters expected to be installed by 2020, amounting to $37.8 billion (Smart Energy International, 2018; European Commission). And while cutting costs and using energy more efficiently help both the environment and our bank accounts, we are looking at one more data-collecting device that is connected to the grid. 

How secure is smart meter data really? 


How do smart meters process data?

Smart meters send real-time information on consumption to the utility supplier, allowing for more accurate billing. However, unlike other devices connected to the grid, smart meters use their own secure networks - HAN and WAN - and do not connect to the Internet. Home Area Network (HAN) is an in-house network that allows the meter to display information and communicate with other meters at the same location. The Wide Area Network (WAN) is a line, very similar to a mobile phone network, that operates currently on 4G and over the air (OTA), and carries the information to the supplier. 

Is data sent from a smart meter at risk?

Sending data on a regular basis is why security experts have warned the UK government that smart meters could get hacked. Data about electric and gas consumption can be used by hackers to cut power supply, causing damage to both appliances and the supply network. Another way to use the information is for hackers to artificially inflate the readings on the meter and then intercept payments, taking the difference for themselves, without anyone finding out about it. If smart meters become able to talk to other devices in the home, hackers could use them as a Trojan horse and steal personal information, causing even more damage and disseminating the information to other fraudulent parties. 

However, smart meters still remain one of the most secure pieces of technology on the smart grid. 

Security by design

Carrying information over 4G means that smart meters do not need to connect to Wi-Fi and do not communicate with other devices connected to your home network, hence cannot be targeted by hackers. Furthermore, smart meters do not store names, addresses or bank details, or have a central database for such information. Hacking the meters would require special expertise and a lot of resources to circumvent real-time network monitoring and the security protocols,  which makes them hard to crack. 

Smart metering solutions that reduce operational cost and improve customer satisfaction

JT IoT provides smart metering solutions for utility companies to reduce operational cost and improve customer satisfaction. JT is rated as the highest performing connectivity solution for smart meters in the UK because of the open roaming network management

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Filed Under: IoT Security, IoT solutions, Smart Metering Systems, cybersecurity