Smart Meter Hacks Cost a Single Utility $400 Million a Year

According to KrebsOnSecurity’s Brian Krebs, a 2010 FBI cyber intelligence bulletin reported that cyber attacks on smart meters have already cost a single electric utility in Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority, as much as $400 million a year.

“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,” Krebs writes.

“According to the FBI, power thieves on the Caribbean island nation, an unincorporated territory of the USA, used optical probes to hack the meters via the infrared maintenance port,” The H Security reports. “Suitable probes are available online for around $400 and are connected to a laptop which runs software to modify the meter’s settings. The software needed to carry out the hack is freely available online.”

“The FBI found that it was likely former employees of the meter manufacturer and the utility that were altering the meter for anywhere from $300 to $1,000 for residential meters and $3,000 for commercial meters,” writes Greentech Media’s Katherine Tweed.

“After infiltrating the meters, the crooks modified the settings for recording power consumption,” writes SecurityNewsDaily’s Matt Liebowitz.

Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman has been a technology journalist for more than 20 years and an eSecurity Planet contributor since 2009.

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