Loved and loathed … The Victorian smart meter scheme has been
controversial. Miscreants are reprogramming meters to report less power
usage, for a fee.
A series of hacks perpetrated against so-called “smart meter” installations
over the past several years may have cost a single electric company
hundreds of millions of dollars annually, the FBI said in a cyber
intelligence bulletin obtained by KrebsOnSecurity.
The US law enforcement agency said this was the first known report of
criminals compromising the hi-tech meters, and that it expected this type
of fraud to spread across the country as more utilities deploy smart grid
Smart meters are intended to improve efficiency, reliability, and allow the
electric utility to charge different rates for electricity at different
times of day. Smart grid technology also holds the promise of improving a
utility’s ability to remotely read meters to determine electric usage.
But it appears that some of these meters are smarter than others in their
ability to deter hackers and block unauthorised modifications. The FBI
warns that insiders and individuals with only a moderate level of computer
knowledge are likely able to compromise meters with low-cost tools and
software readily available on the internet.