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Clock is Ticking on Tackling Threat to Power Grid

By WSU Insider

January 24, 2020

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Washington State University (WSU) researchers have evaluated the threat presented by Internet-linked devices connected to the U.S. electric power grid.

WSU's Adam Hahn and David Jonathan Sebastian-Cardenas simulated how smart devices and smart homes could be exploited to commandeer the grid and wreak havoc.

The spread of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies could allow attackers to jeopardize power-grid operations by injecting malware into such devices, causing their power demand to wildly fluctuate and trigger load shocks and outages.

Sebastian-Cardenas warned the future proliferation of large-load controllers and smart inverters could imperil grid functions due to their fast load-changing capabilities. “Utilities should require their users to install devices that satisfy a minimal set of security policies that prevent a large-scale attack on the power grid,” he said.

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