UK consumers fear cyber attacks on smart meters, survey reveals

UK consumers believe smart meters will capture too much personal information and will be vulnerable to cyber attack, a survey has revealed

UK consumers believe smart meters will capture too much personal information and will be vulnerable to cyber attack, a survey has revealed.

Smart meters record consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and transmit that data to utilities at regular intervals for monitoring and billing purposes.

Almost 10% of those polled by security firm Tripwire think that smart meters will be targeted by cyber criminals.

More than 10% believe smart meter consumer data will include personally identifiable information (PII), such as bank details, date of birth and addresses.

Almost 80% believe smart meter PII will require additional security and 73% believe consumers should own smart meter PII data.

According to Dwayne Melancon, chief technology officer for Tripwire, consumer fears about smart meter privacy are well founded. 

In a recent survey, energy industry security professionals identified metering infrastructure as one of the highest risk areas in smart grids,” he said.

Smart grids – the energy infrastructure connected to smart meters – is made up of a wide range of technology.

“Each of these introduces many potential vulnerabilities that may be susceptible to cyber attack, and we are adding new technologies all the time,” said Melancon.

“This ever-increasing rate of network complexity, combined with the lure of easily monetised consumer data, will inevitably draw the attention of a wide variety of cyber attackers,” he said.

According to Melancon, critical infrastructure will continue to be at risk without adequate security controls, which is “uncharted territory” for many utilities providers.

For this reason, Tripwire has published guidelines on critical security controls that can quickly mitigate or reduce these risks, he said. The firm has also published privacy guidelines.

Smart meters were launched in the UK in 2009 in a bid to help consumers save money on energy and be environmentally friendly.

Image: Thinkstock

Read more on Privacy and data protection

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.