Smart grid attack scenarios (understand the threat to defend against it)
Quick Take: It's a war out there -- literally. Hackers from hostile countries target the U.S. power grid every day. That's why I wanted to run this adaptation of a recent blog post from Trend Micro, an IT security company. I previously shared their view of the ways to attack a smart meter. This article explains how those attacks could extend to the entire grid.
Trend Micro is an IT company and views smart meters as computers that happen to be attached to the grid. As a result, their list of dangers isn't complete. But it is a good reminder of the IT vectors that could bring problems to utilities. As before, you can also view a quick video overview. - Jesse Berst
Smart grids pertain to an electric grid with digital information/communication capabilities for recording information on both consumers and suppliers. What differentiates an attack on a smart grid from an attack on a smart meter? Simply put, scale: an attack on a smart grid affects many more users than an attack on an individual meter. The potential for damage is proportionately much more significant.
However, this also means that the attack surface is different. Not only can the smart meters be attacked, but the servers at the utility that controls the smart meters can also serve as an attack vector. However, these servers can also be defended with tools used to defend against targeted attacks.