Smart meters vulnerable to hacking | The Canberra Times

Your smart meter could be hacked, your energy held to ransom, its usage monitored to determine the best time to rob your house, or even used by advertisers to determine your favourite TV show.

Director of the Centre for Internet Safety at the University of Canberra Nigel Phair has warned Australian consumers aren’t aware of the risks associated with their smart meters.

There are two types of smart meters, ‘one-way’ or ‘two-way’ meters: one way meters simply transmit data back to utility companies.

Two-way meters can be updated to inform savvy consumers on fee changes or allow power companies to cut services at a moment’s notice.

Mr Phair said two-way meters had less secure data connections, allowing would-be criminals to hack in.

ActewAGL said there were 3225 two-way smart meters in the ACT, representing 1.7 per cent of meters in the capital.

Mr Phair said there were no Australian or global standards on security and privacy regarding smart meters and called for more stringent digital security standards.

“They’re vulnerable to cyber attacks back into the home because it can receive data over the internet,” Mr Phair said.

“The reason electricity companies want this is because they can turn it off when you don’t pay your bill.”

Mr Phair said hackers could potentially cut power then demand money from households before reactivating it, or use it to determine when no one was home before breaking in.

Mr Phair’s report Smart Meters: What does a connected house really mean? cited a case in Puerto Rico where hackers offered households lower power bills.

For fees ranging up to $US1000, hackers reprogrammed two-way smart meters remotely to reduce monthly power bills by 75 per cent, costing power bodies in Puerto Rico nearly $US400 million.

The report pointed to malware software capable of infecting two-way meters before leaping to nearby meters, potentially shutting down entire neighbourhoods.

“We should only roll out one-way meters in the first instance, until we work out the security and privacy issues of two-ways meters,” Mr Phair said.

“Essentially, one-way radio transmission is more secure for the customer.”

A scathing 2015 report by the Victorian Auditor-General found two-way meters had delivered no cost benefits to Victorian households.

While Mr Phair said the meters allowed consumers to actively monitor and analyse their usage, but most were unaware how.

Mr Phair added smart meter readings also had potential for advertisers.

German researchers eavesdropping on household energy outputs determined the type of TV and the show people were watching by the energy required to light the screen.

It required previous understanding of what energy patterns programs created but Mr Phair said the data could be sold to advertisers, raising privacy concerns.

He said the energy data could be matched with people’s social media use.

A report from the Australian Energy Market Commission last year set new rules in place to improve security and privacy standards on smart meters.

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6 Responses to Smart meters vulnerable to hacking | The Canberra Times

  1. smart meter sufferer says:

    Please read this cry for help from EHS sufferer, Jody Watkins . Here is an exert from her story:
    “A microwave tower, stationed 300 meters from my home has caused me to be homeless.
    I suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS). The radiation from the tower effects every part of my body causing unrelenting pain and suffering.”
    If you can donate to her Go Fund me page that would be wonderful.

  2. Magdalena says:


    Smart meters are mentioned in this video:

    She seems to have all the documents. How open is our mind to be able to comprehend the truth of these documents!



  3. Daryl Bradforde says:

    Any new meter installed in NSW from July 2017 will be a smart meter.

    See the following article

    “To date smart meters have been rolled out on a voluntary basis in NSW, after a mandatory mass roll-out in Victoria was widely criticised. But from July this year, any new meters installed in NSW homes MUST be a smart meter.”

    The new rules for Competition in Metering Services commence 01 DEC 2017 where customers can choose to have the communication card removed from installed smart meters.

    Beware anybody in NSW who is having a meter installed from July 2017. Unless you object it is most likely that you will have a smart meter installed with it’s communication card wirelessly transmitting radiation through your home. It’s time to lock up boxes in NSW before July 2017.

    • Dennis Galbraith says:

      Sounds like if any new meter needs to be installed, you need to ensure that it doesn’t happen between 1 July 2017 and 01 Dec 2017. We need to make this period (at least) a no go zone for new installations. If it is that from 01 Dec 2017 you do have a legitimate option in NSW for a non communicating meter, I can see that the Power Distributors in NSW could go all out to install as many transmitting meters as they can prior to 01 Dec 2017. Lock your meter boxes NSW. Lock your meter boxes Australia.

  4. Jodie Donnelly says:

    I have been beside myself with worry that all new places are going to be forced to have these death devices deployed in them from December this year, as per many NSW government websites.

    It is hard enough currently finding a healthy place in Penrith NSW and surrounding suburbs without these and/or sickening phone or microwave towers, etc. in, or close by radiating and causing me and my family major suffering and ill health.

    I wanted to secure a place without a smart meter prior to this Armageddon and then maintain the safe old analogue meter.

    But it is proving impossible to find a place that has, either, not got one already (often being the reason the previous occupiers have, or are moving out) and/or has just had one sleazily placed in it between occupiers, or certainly has a spot for one stealthily waiting in the meter box, or where the neighbours and/or every second or so house in the street does not have them.

    Now I read this article:

    Smart meters questioned for their security and privacy safeguards

    And it says these things are compulsory in every new home from July this year. Which is it and why is it that they are being propagated by those making squillions out of them, as not compulsory, when they are obviously exactly that. Every day on earth without these things near you is a health bonus.

    When incalculable people become so weakened and sick and cannot go to work to pay the energy bills, let alone their mortgage or rent. Or die from this radiation and/or at their own hand because of how sick it is making them, while in debt for these things.

    Where are those who are forcing these grave meters onto us, going to get their death money from. Or will they just have made so much by then, at the cost of our health and lives that it won’t bother them.

    I am telling you, not only from personal experience, but, I have been doing surveys and getting totally innocent and unbiased responses for many months now and these meters are without any doubt, to some degree detrimentally effecting everybody that I have spoken to who has them.

    The degree governed by proximity, length, time and type of exposure as well as, of course, those who are already immunocompromised being put at deaths door and/or through it.

    Even those few I have met during this time who are arguing for them, were demonstrating and/or voicing the worse conditions that are known to be caused by smart meters, but didn’t or don’t know the link yet, so do not take any precautions and have added further dangerous accompaniments including solar panels directly above their living environments, further increasing these unnatural excessive emissions and this is why they are so badly effected.

    The swift and exacerbating effect this radiation has on the growth of and the toxins produced by mould and fungus spore proliferation, makes it even more atrociously dangerous and deadly.

    For goodness sake, who is protecting the children, when will this evil madness stop?

  5. see also the Article from Lucy Cormack “Smart meters know when you’re home, but who else does?” in the age on Thursday 27 April 017

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