Friday, April 23, 2010

Dr. Forbin a few years later

One of my very first blog posts - Dr. Forbin would be proud! Or would he? – concerned smart grid computing and security. You know, hooking up your electric meters and appliances to the grid so power could be better regulated. As I mentioned in that post I was concerned – and still am – about the security of these projects:

Apparently I am not the only one concerned about this because Homeland Security has a working group that studies our country's infrastructure and the concept of utility disruption by terrorists concerns them. I'm much more concerned about the teenage hacker around the corner or on the other side of the country figuring out how to turn off my home's power at a whim.

Earl Perkins recently also posted about smart grids and security: The Myth of Smart Grid Security- A Response. Earl has similar worries. I don’t think much has changed since my original post on the topic over three years ago unfortunately. It frustrates me that security, in many cases, is an afterthought. Something that is considered only after a disaster, crisis or publicity forces it.
I actually do believe that much of the utility market (I worked for an electric utility for 16 years before becoming an analyst) is in denial about the scope and extent required to secure their efforts in improving the grid, wherever it may be— AMI, SCADA, customer information systems. It is a fundamental and foundational effort that will require education and awareness on a significant scale. Is it possible to do so?  Sure, but that foundation must be laid down now. We’ll crawl before we walk, walk before we run.

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