Sensus, EnerNex and Oak Ridge lab to heighten cyber security in smart meters

Raleigh, N.C., October 11, 2011 — Sensus has announced a partnership with EnerNex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to conduct a demonstration of the automated vulnerability detection system.

The AVUD project, funded by the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Department of Energy, is developing a system for cyber security vulnerability detection in smart grid components.

The system, known as the function extraction or FX system, will apply the newly developed technology of software behavior computation. The project will initially focus on improving security in software that controls smart meters.

As part of the joint collaboration, Sensus is providing smart meter architecture, firmware and source code to be evaluated, with EnerNex contributing expertise in evaluating smart grid utility technologies.

ORNL devised the FX technology evaluation platform to perform static analysis of the compiled software and device firmware. FX technology is a powerful analytical technique that will be used to:

* Compute the behavior of software in all circumstances of use to determine everything it does

* Detect inclusion of both unintended and maliciously inserted vulnerabilities in smart grid components

By directly analyzing the compiled software, AVUD will be able to detect the inclusion of both unintended and maliciously inserted vulnerabilities in smart grid components. Based on this information mitigations for these vulnerabilities can be recommended.

Cyber security for energy delivery systems has emerged as one of the nation's most serious grid modernization and infrastructure protection issues. A team of ORNL and EnerNex cyber security experts is currently completing development of the AVUD system and will be demonstrating the technology with Sensus.

High-performance computing capabilities available at ORNL will be employed in the analysis. Success with this demonstration project could ultimately present opportunities to improve reliability and security for other smart grid components.

Sensus continues to make data and cyber security high priorities and it is working to strengthen industry standards. Sensus has participated in several third-party certification processes for network integrity, and in early 2011 became the first advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) vendor to achieve both Achilles Communication and Practices Certifications for overall cyber security through the industrial testing and certification firm, Wurldtech Security Technologies.

In addition, Sensus has licensed the IBM Tivoli Key Lifecycle Manager (TKLM) software to provide users of its FlexNetTM wireless AMI product with the leading encryption key management utility for all deployments of electric, gas and water metering devices and distribution automation solutions.

The program is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012.

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