Electricity Grid Of Solar Panel Tech Could Be Next Target of Hackers

A Dutch researcher has revealed that the electricity grids in solar panel equipment could be easily targeted by hackers.

Willem Westerhof has found out more than 17 vulnerabilities in inverters, which convert electricity produced by the panels so it can be used on the grid.

He said that the inverters which are connected to the internet could be targeted by hackers.
While one of the manufacturers set aside his claims saying that only "a small fraction" of its devices were affected.

He told the BBC, "If an attacker does that on a large scale, that has serious consequences for the power grid stability."

Another energy researcher at Imperial College London, Iain Staffell, told the BBC, "It's certainly a risk to electricity supply and could stress grid operations."

However, he refuted the claims of Westerhof and said that it could be only possible if a large number of inverters would have to be attacked at once.

SMA has released a statement in which they pointed out the limitations to such an attack:
  • 1    only four of its models are affected by the vulnerabilities

  • 2    users are advised to change default passwords when installing the devices, though this is not required
  • 3    inverters not connected to the internet are safe

"The security of our devices has the highest priority for SMA in all respects," the company said in a statement.

"We already assessed the mentioned issues on a technical basis and [are working] intensively on the correction."

It added that they would further publish the responses to Mr Westerhof's research in the coming days. They are now working on a report about the security of its products with the Dutch National Cyber Security Centre.

Mr Westerhof revealed the vulnerabilities at a security conference in the Netherlands


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