Pizza place left in the dark after installation of unwanted smart meter

Pizza place left in the dark after installation of unwanted smart meter

Wednesday, December 28th 2016, 6:49 pm EST

Thursday, December 29th 2016, 7:14 am EST

Smart electricity meters can be dangerously insecure, warns expert

Smart electricity meters can be dangerously insecure, warns expert

Hackers can cause fraud, explosions and house fires, and utility companies should do more to protect consumers, conference told

Smart meters are frequently dangerously insecure, a security expert has warned.
Smart meters are frequently dangerously insecure, a security expert has warned.

Smart electricity meters, of which there are more than 100m installed around the world, are frequently “dangerously insecure”, a security expert has said.

The lack of security in the smart utilities raises the prospect of a single line of malicious code cutting power to a home or even causing a catastrophic overload leading to exploding meters or house fires, according to Netanel Rubin, co-founder of the security firm Vaultra.

“Reclaim your home,” Rubin told a conference of hackers and security experts, “or someone else will.”

If a hacker took control of a smart meter they would be able to know “exactly when and how much electricity you’re using”, Rubin told the 33rd Chaos Communications Congress in Hamburg. An attacker could also see whether a home had any expensive electronics.

“He can do billing fraud, setting your bill to whatever he likes … The scary thing is if you think about the power they have over your electricity. He will have power over all of your smart devices connected to the electricity. This will have more severe consequences: imagine you woke up to find you’d been robbed by a burglar who didn’t have to break in.

“But even if you don’t have smart devices, you are still at risk. An attacker who controls the meter also controls the meter’s software, allowing him to cause it to literally explode.”

Rubin said many of the warnings were not hypothetical. In 2009 Puerto Rican smart meters were hacked en masse, leading to widespread billing fraud, and in 2015 a house fire in Ontario was traced back to a faulty smart meter, although hacking was not implicated in that.

The problems at the heart of the insecurity stem from outdated protocols, half-hearted implementations and weak design principles. While the physical security of smart meters is strong – “trust me, I tried” to hack in that way, Rubin said – the wireless protocols many of them use are problematic.

To communicate with the utility company, most smart meters use GSM, the 2G mobile standard. That has a fairly well-known weakness whereby an attacker with a fake mobile tower can cause devices to “hand over” to the fake version from the real tower, simply by providing a strong signal. In GSM, devices have to authenticate with towers, but not the other way round, allowing the fake mast to send its own commands to the meter.

Worse still, said Rubin, all the meters from one utility used the same hardcoded credentials. “If an attacker gains access to one meter, it gains access to them all. It is the one key to rule them all.”

Inside the home, too, the communications are rendered insecure by outdated standards and bad implementation. Almost all smart meters use the Zigbee standard to speak to other smart devices in the home.

Zigbee, which dates from 2003, is a popular home automation standard, used for controlling everything from lightbulbs to air conditioners. But it is so convoluted, due to the vast array of devices supported, that it is almost better to think of it as 15 different standards, each of which vendors can choose to implement as they see fit.

“This unique situation is so difficult to implement, venders actually choose what they want to implement. And when they choose what to support, they more often than not skip security,” Rubin said.

Other weak security decisions made by vendors include:

  • Encryption keys derived from short (often just six-character) device names.
  • Pairing standards with no authentication required, allowing an attacker to simply ask the smart meter to join the network and receive keys in return.
  • Hardcoded credentials, allowing administrator access with passwords as simple and guessable as the vendor’s name.
  • Code simplified to work on low-power devices skipping important checks, allowing nothing more than a long communication to crash the device.

“These security problems are not going to just go away,” Rubin said. “On the contrary, we are going to see a sharp increase in hacking attempts. Yet most utilities are not even monitoring their network, let alone the smart meters. Utilities have to understand that with great power comes great responsibility.”

Smart meters come with benefits, allowing utilities to more efficiently allocate energy production, and enabling micro-generation that can boost the uptake of renewable energy. For those reasons and more, the European Union has a goal of replacing 80% of meters with smart meters by 2020.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/29/smart-electricity-meters-dangerously-insecure-hackers

The Scary Future is Upon Us

Future of driverless cars: Government able to lock you in your own car to deliver you to the nearest reeducation camp

(NaturalNews) Recently, the Seattle police enlisted the help of car manufacturer BMW to both track and remotely lock a criminal inside of the vehicle he had stolen. This has sparked some spirited debates regarding the remote-lock aspects of vehicles and the ways they can be used.

BMW confirmed that they have the power to remotely lock and unlock their vehicles if they wish to do so. A police report obtained from the incident shows that the responding Seattle officer noted that BMW assistance was called upon to locate the vehicle and remotely lock its doors. The suspect found sleeping inside the BMW and briefly tried to get away when awoken by police. The suspect failed to flee because he couldn’t get the vehicle in gear quickly enough, he was arrested without incident.

http://naturalnews.com/2016-12-16-future-of-driverless-cars-government-able-to-lock-you-in-your-own-car-to-deliver-you-to-the-nearest-reeducation-camp.html

 

Coming soon, iris scanning cars that talk to traffic signals

New technology allows vehicles to talk to traffic lights

http://massprivatei.blogspot.ie/2016/12/coming-soon-iris-scanning-cars-that.html

Motorists are being tracked in real-time

http://www.reviewjournal.com/business/new-audi-technology-will-count-down-red-light-wait-times-you

Smart meters Emit Higher Radiation Than Cell Towers

BARAROO NEWS REPUBLIC

Look for effects of electromagnetic radiation

February 27, 2014 3:29 pm                                                                
 
Many thanks go out to all those who supported Prairie du Sac residents in an attempt to prevent a Verizon cell tower from being installed on the Sauk Prairie High School athletic field.

Legislative restraints have made it nearly impossible for “the little guy” to triumph over large corporations with inexhaustible resources. However, the lawsuit initiated by local residents was never about winning; it was about doing the right thing to keep our children and our neighborhood safe. And it was about raising awareness of the issues we faced so other communities do not make the same mistake we believe our school officials and village board members did.

It is most unfortunate that our school administrators and board members agreed to sign a contract with Verizon without informing and consulting the people they serve. It is disheartening too, knowing village board members disregarded the strong and sufficient studies and evidence which were presented to them, and felt they had no other choice but to capitulate to this large corporation due to a recently-passed state law.

I commend anyone on these boards who stood up and did what was right for the children and the community by trying to prevent the location of the cell tower on school property. No doubt, they too believe cell towers do not belong on school grounds.

We’re asking people living within 1,500 feet of the newly installed cell tower, as well as students and staff at the high school and middle school, to start paying attention to and taking note of any new health problems that they may experience in the coming months and years now that this cell tower will soon be emitting electromagnetic radiation constantly.

There is strong scientific evidence that people residing close to cell towers experience an increase of headaches, sleep disorders, memory loss, increased heart rates, lower sperm counts, miscarriages, impaired nervous systems, cancer, and other both short- and long-term health issues. When we lose our health, sometimes no amount of money can save it.

As our world becomes more and more technologically advanced, we cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand, deny strong evidence of health-damaging effects and chalk it up to “progress.” Cancer is becoming more alarmingly prevalent. Childhood diseases are on the rise. People of all ages are now experiencing immune system deficiencies and attention deficit disorders. If the radiation we’re being bombarded with is one of the major causes, now is the time to pay close attention and start taking action.

Palma Walker, Prairie du Sac

http://www.wiscnews.com/baraboonewsrepublic/news/opinion/mailbag/article_a6212865-1c30-5436-9552-a5e7d6b691c3.html