Ex-CIA director advises more emphasis on Smart Grid security

A former Director of the CIA is warning utility companies to pay more attention to the security implications of using Smart Grid technology.

James Woolsey, says the utility companies don’t want to think about issues like data security, so it’s up to the people working on smart grid technologies to do that.

The former intelligence man says companies need to be particularly mindful of overdependence on the electric grid.

According to Gigaom website seventeen of the United States’ 18 pieces of critical infrastructure rely on electricity, and anything from weather to the pulse from a nuclear weapon detonated in the atmosphere could take it out.

And of course there are additional concerns with malign influences at play.

“As the Wikileaks diplomatic-tubes controversy illustrated, anyone who is part of a network can inflict a lot of damage. You wouldn’t want someone who doesn’t have your interests in mind getting access to grid data and taking it down”, Woolsey said.

Although the grid is vulnerable in this way, Woolsey said methods such as distributed generation, cogeneration and improved battery technology could help alleviate some of the threat.

“The less we rely on centralized transmission and generation, the less vulnerable any given point on the network is. The easier it is to hack, the easier it is to bring down the electric grid: “If the data disappears, it’s not of much use.”

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