We have associated cyber threat so far with the IT and finance industries only. However, due to the recent advancement in technologies connected to an electrical grid, the vulnerability of consumer data has alerted grid operators to take steps towards securing their networks. Possible targets include rooftop solar panels connected to IoT devices to track usage.
While manufacturers in the field of Energy are moving into development of smart inverters that can reduce operational expenses and improve reliability, the communication of inverters with the grid has rendered them vulnerable. It is now possible for hackers to control the devices remotely and tweak the flow of power. They could also cause a blackout by overloading the system. Hackers can also stop operations of a power grid and demand ransom or mutilate their reputation.
Energy companies are offering IoT-enabled smart home systems to their customers. This implies that the device needs to be connected to the internet and there is a significant amount of data transfer that hackers can access since there’s no security to breach. The following are possible ways to prevent cyber attacks:
1. Cyber security and Risk management: Most IT and finance companies prioritise data security but in the energy sector, it has never been so important in the past. Companies that deal with smart energy storage solutions must make security one of their prime features. There needs to be regular system checkups so that issues can be located and resolved.
2. Consumer awareness: Consumers need to be made aware of potential threats and ways to prevent attacks. They must ensure that the security credentials of their devices should be known only to them. They should also avoid plugging in unknown flash drives or other data storage devices.
3. Implement Blockchain: Blockchain is a peer-to-peer network database which features real-time distributed updation and each transaction is validated by all the participants. This technology ensures a higher level of security and accuracy of the transactional data. Blockchain technology can record digital transactions anonymously and is nearly impossible to hack.
4. Reverse attack algorithms: Companies that build smart home systems must work on creating algorithms that can negate cyber attacks.
Cyber attackers can affect grid stability and disrupt operations on a large scale causing consumers to lose faith in renewable energy systems. Introducing cybersecurity in renewable energy can transform the sector into a modern and safe alternative to conventional grids.