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The security of the smart grid, from privacy and ownership of personal information among consumers to hackers' ability to fell the entire grid in one sweep of malicious code, has been a hotly debated topic since the smart grid's earliest days. So it is no surprise to hear that security measures that protect the grid is set to be a multi-billion-dollar industry in the very near future. According to a new report by Pike Research, 15% of all smart grid investments over the next few years will be for security, representing about $21 billion by 2015. CNET reports, "With the U.S. electrical grid--and other national grids worldwide--poised to become smart systems with integrated communications, the possible threat of sabotage has become an obvious concern. To that end, the U.S. government has set aside funding to develop security protocols. Others are following suit. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is being pushed by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to develop standards that can be integrated with all the types of systems that make up the web of smart grid communications."
The Pike Research report shows that there are currently five major areas of the smart grid that present security vulnerabilities, including "transmission upgrades, substation automation, distribution automation, electric vehicle management systems, and advanced metering infrastructure." In other words, major parts of the major whole. It is no wonder that significant funds will be funneled into hardware and software, as well as devising security protocol and standards, that will protect these systems.
A serious lack of standards and mistrust among consumers still stands in the way of a full adoption of the smart grid. And security experts have been saying for some time that caution is needed as we move forward -- there is no way that the US wants to leave any part of its power grid vulnerable to hackers or simple malfunctions.
More on Smart Grid Security
Smart Grid Status According to the DOE, and Security According to (eep!) Black Hat
Smart Grid Cyber War Games Test Security Risks
Report States Smart Grid Hackers May Cause Blackouts
Rash of Infiltrated Computer Systems Prods Question: How Safe is Smart Grid?
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