GCHQ steps into protect smart meters against hackers

Intelligence agency GCHQ is to look into the security of smart meters to ensure they are not wide open to hackers.

The move reportedly comes after the agency’s spooks viewed plans by energy companies to use a single decryption key across the whole network of communications between suppliers and the estimated 50 million plus smart meters set to be installed by 2020.

Experts say, if the roll out goes ahead as planned, the UK’s energy infrastructure would be wide open to hacking, as the scheme doesn’t just communicate power use for the purpose of billing but can restrict consumption and, if necessary, cut off supply. Most of the smart meters installed today use mobile phone-type signals to send meter readings to suppliers and other wireless technologies to send information to the in-home display.

The national smart meter rollout is predicted to cost £11bn.

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