Hackers rewrite smart meter power bill

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Energy data shows what movies customers were watching.

Two German researchers have exploited security holes in a smart meter service to alter energy consumption rates, expose privacy flaws and determine what movies consumers had watched.

Dario Carluccio and Stephan Brinkhaus demonstrated the flaws with German energy company Discovergy at the Chaos Computing Congress in Berlin.

The researchers, also customers, learnt that energy consumption data was sent unencrypted because SSL was malfunctioning.

They intercepted and manipulated the data using Fritzbox! and WireShark and returned to the company a negative energy consumption rate of -106610 kWh.

Similar flaws also allowed Carluccio and Brinkhaus to demonstrate that a customer’s entire power consumption history was stored by Discovergy.

Customers could only access a three month time frame under normal circumstances.

A capability that allowed power consumption to be monitored in two-second intervals was also exploited.

The researchers said they could determine if a particular movie had been watched based on two-second relay data held by Discovergy and accessed through HTTP GET requests.

The company offered the services to allow customers to determine if they had left an electrical appliance switched on if they had left their home.

Discovergy CEO Nikolaus Starzacher said customers would have the option to disable the relay feature.

Copyright © SC Magazine, Australia


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