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February 15, 2010 AT 1:06 pm

Reverse-engineering a smart meter…

Smartmeter2
Nate writes

In 2008, a nice man from PG&E came out to work on my house. He installed a new body for the gas meter and said someone would come by later to install the electronics module to make it a “smart meter“. Since I work with security for embedded systems, this didn’t sound very exciting. I read up on smart meters and found they not only broadcast billing information (something I consider only a small privacy risk) but also provide remote control. A software bug, typo at the control center, or hacker could potentially turn off my power and gas. But how vulnerable was I actually?

It’s a good start, looking forward to a follow up with more deets’


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3 Comments

  1. Would have been cool to really reverse engineer it but the guy basically only identified the parts and said he is not doing any more work on it.

  2. I wonder if the the interface for your gas meter is similar to if not identical to similar electric meters by companies like Itron. http://j.mp/9ePy50

  3. Maybe it is a Silver Spring’s Gas Interface Management Unit™ (IMU). One of their customers is Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
    Here the link to one of their patents http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7064679.pdf
    RF transmission is the only suitable technology for gas/water utilities.
    For electric utility instead powerlines can be used (ENEL, main italian electric power company have around 30 million bidirectional smart meters using powerline as network cables).
    I reverse engineered RF communication of some watre meters devices from Wavenis (ELSTER company) using data available on the web and one of their USB pc communication devices. This devices are based on a TI MSP430 and have a valve gate output. As stated on their websiste data encryption is available on request… otherwise potentially one person could reset or, worst, modify metering pulse counted data or close/open water…

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