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Tripwire  announced the results of a survey of 1,000 U.K. consumers on smart meter privacy. The research revealed that British consumers believe utility companies will only install smart meters in high-earning households, creating a class division, despite widely publicized benefits that include reduced energy bills and improved environmental consciousness.

Key research findings include:

  • Almost 10% of respondents think that smart meters will be targeted by cyber criminals
  • Over 10% of respondents believe smart meter consumer data will include Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as bank details, date of birth and addresses
  • Almost 80% of respondents believe smart meter PII will require additional security
  • 73% of respondents believe consumers should own smart meter consumer data

Commenting on the research, Dwayne Melancon, chief technology officer for Tripwire noted that “consumer fears about smart meter privacy are well founded. In a recent survey, energy industry security professionals identified metering infrastructure as one of the highest risk areas in smart grids.”

“Smart grids – the energy infrastructure connected to smart meters – comprise an enormous range of technology, each of which introduces many potential vulnerabilities that may be susceptible to cyber attack, and we are adding new technologies all the time. This ever-increasing rate of network complexity, combined with the lure of easily monetized consumer data, will inevitably draw the attention of a wide variety of cyber attackers,” Melancon continued.

Melancon went on to say that “without adequate security controls, our critical infrastructure will continue to be at risk, and this is uncharted territory for many utilities providers.  Fortunately, there is readily available guidance on critical security controls that can quickly mitigate or reduce these risks.”

Smart meters are electrical meters that record consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less. They communicate information back to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes at regular intervals. They were launched in the UK in 2009 in a bid to help consumers save money on energy and be environmentally friendly.

More information on the smart meter privacy survey is available at The Tripwire survey was conducted by One Poll amongst 1,000 consumers across the U.K. in April 2013.


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