There are millions of electricity meters connected to the Internet. When you consider that the companies switching over to "smart" meters previously had to send a guy out to actually eyeball your meter to bill for your energy usage, it makes sense to go high tech. What two Spanish security researchers discovered, however, was that these meters are wide open to hacker attacks.
The team discovered a security flaw in every single meter used by a Spanish energy company that powers millions of homes. After breaking in, the researchers were able to take full control over the meter box, switch its ID to impersonate another customer or even turn it into a weapon to shut down an entire power network.
Vazquez Vidal, one of the researchers, had this to say in an interview with The Hacker News:
"Oh wait? We can do this? We were really scared. We started thinking about the impact this could have. What happens if someone wants to attack an entire country?"
The worst part about claiming that he could attack a country is that he's not exaggerating. As more and more services switch over to the Internet of Things, they'll become vulnerable to attacks by hackers. And from what we've seen of security flaws in Nest's "smart" thermostat and other gadgets, security isn't the most important priority to companies building "smart" products for your home.
The scariest part about power companies switching to "smart" thermostats is that there's very little you can actually do about it. You can try to switch energy companies, but that might not always be an option. What you can do, though, is talk to your electric provider.
Ask them about how their meters work and tell them about this dangerous security flaw. If they ignore you, use this tip to complain on social media and get results.
You don't want a hacker shifting their electricity bill to you. You definitely don't want a hacker to have the power to shut down the power in your neighborhood. I hope that more security researchers start looking into flaws in electricity meters, because I'm willing to bet that Spain isn't the only country that has some dangerous vulnerabilities.
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