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                Business Imperatives

                Smart Grid and Security Better Together

                By: Lynne Gillespie

                Smart Grids are becoming more and more prevalent and will only become more so - the US Government allocated 165 billion to the development of smart grids. Why should security play such an important role? All points of the Smart Grid electrical distribution systems are networked, connected and are all hackable.

                One large component of the Smart Grids are smart meters which can be connected wirelessly and/or with wired access to other systems, The smart meters track energy consumption, that?s the most basic information it captures. Data collected by smart meters can also indicate when the consumer takes a shower, if a home has an alarm system, what credit card they use to pay their bill and more.

                Given its multiple points of entry, the hackers can indulge a variety of motives ranging from stealing consumer credit card information, disabling alarm systems to a forced shutdown of ?the grid? which can also affect communications and transportation services.

                Smart Grids? potential for cost savings, management, reliability and efficiency are tremendous - but the benefits can be short-lived if security controls aren?t developed and implemented in tandem or beforehand.

                So to the utilities companies out there: Are you developing or managing your Smart Grid with security in mind? What will you do to protect your smart grid and your consumers from hackers?

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