back to article FBI frets about dumb security in smart meters

The FBI is seeing increasing hacks on electricity smart meters, with most attacks designed to let consumers get power without paying for it. Krebs on Security claims to have an FBI intelligence bulletin that outlines the agency’s growing concern at smart meter hacks – and which along the way highlights the cavalier attitude …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "serious privacy flaws in a smart meter scheme that allowed attackers to intercept meter data and determine householders’ TV viewing habits and whether or not they were home"

    I can see this being used as a lazy plot for some Home Alone reboot.

    You guys give up yet? Or are you thirsty for more?

  2. Anonymous C0ward

    A magnet?

    I thought that's the hack for the old mechanical kind.

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    *Finally* someone actually starts giving a s**t.

    Not of course about the privacy implications or the possible subversion of the remote kill switch capability.


    That despite *all* their intelligence they still don't stop the power company being ripped off.

    Any one wondering how different the ones that are being planned for the UK will be?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Seems again

    that the design brief was "make em as cheap as we can to get the contract" customer privacy/security will, as always, take a second seat to profits.

    Ergo: they deserve every lost £/$ they suffer.

    1. Boring Bob

      Re: Seems again

      "they deserve every lost £/$ they suffer."

      The electricity companies will not lose a penny, they will just put up the cost of electricity. As long as most people stay honest, then honest people will pay.

  5. JaitcH

    Almost Completely a Virtual Meter

    I 'acquired' one of these newer 'smartmeters' not so long ago and took it apart, carefully, It was returned but in less than pristine condition.

    Almost all the metering is electronic. Sensing (consumption) can be achieved by acoustic-optical doppler, magnetic, mass-thermal, wheel-turbine / pelton, ultrasonic, etc. They have all the angles and substances covered.

    The LCD display was chip on glass, driven serially, with the microcontroller linking everything together including RF communications, etc. There was a menu that includes encryption.

    Seemingly, the display inviolability is big with regulators, the old mechanical readers failed, but they usually retained the data even when the mechanical damage was severe, This isn't the case with these 'virtual' meters which places the consumer at the mercy of the utility and who trusts a utility?

    Technically remarkable, But for the consumer the mechanical meter is best.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    'The magnets are removed during working hours when the customer is not home, and the meter might be inspected by a technician from the power company...”'

    So the company cannot afford to send a meter reader, but it can afford a "technician" to inspect the smart meters to make sure they haven't been tampered with?

  7. Old Handle

    Magnet, hmmm?

    I was gonna say why bother hacking a smart meter when it would be so easy to tap into the juice on the far side of the meter directly, but if it's really as easy as bringing a large magnet nearby, maybe the FBI is on to something.

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