The israeli industrial cyber security company NanoLock has announced a strategic collaboration with Genus Power Infrastructures, the largest electricity infrastructure company in India. The Indian electricity market has been undergoing in recent years a rapid transition into smart grids and the use of smart meters, and GPI is the leading smart meters manufacturer in the country. As part of the collaboration, Nanolock’s solution will be integrated into GPI’s smart meters and will provide protection against power fraud and cyber attacks on the grid.
The collaboration with GPI may lead to the deployment of tens of millions of smart meters equipped with the Nanolock solution. GPI is the main supplier of smart meters to India’s largest electricity company, EESL, which recently announced an ambitious plan to deploy some 240 million smart meters across the country by 2023. It is estimated that GPI will supply EESL with at least 50% of all meters. In August, GPI announced that it had already supplied EESL with about 1.5 million smart meters, and it produces 10 million smart meters a year.
Founded in 2016, NanoLock’s solution provides device level protection for IoT and industrial equipment, with minimal power, processing and memory footprint, and is therefore particularly suitable for IoT devices with limited processing resources and scant battery power such as smart meters in the gas, water and electricity industries.
NanoLock’s CEO Eran Fein told Techtime: “Our solution sits between the Flash memory and the CPU, where all the device settings are located. It blocks any attempt to alter critical settings and write to the memory, and reports any such incident to the server.” NanoLock is working with major utilities, industrial companies, and large ecosystem partners in Japan, Spain, Switzerland, Singapore, Netherlands, the U.S.¸ and Israel.
Power outage during a religious festival
Driven by rising emissions¸ energy resource constraints and outdated infrastructure¸ the global smart meter market is growing in demand. “The smart meter market is booming¸ but so too are the potential cyberthreats. Utilities and smart city solutions providers are confronting new attacks all the time and any connected device could be the entry point for attackers.”
Smart meters can be manipulated by hackers, that by altering the device reading are frauduently lowering their electricity bill. Northeast Group estimated in a report dated a few years ago that the total losses arise from electricity theft amounts to about $ 96 billion globally a year.
Smart meters vulnerabilities can also put the entire power grid at risk. In August, during an Hindu holiday, power outage affected some 300,000 households in the Uttar Pradesh state in India for several hours. An inspection by the authorities revealed that the fault was due to an error made by a technician who tried to change the settings in one of the smart meters, causing a chain reaction that distrupted the entire grid.
Fein claims Nanolock’s solution provides protection not only from intentional electricity scams but also from wrong doing by employees with access. “It was a wake-up call for the electricity market in India and exemplified the importance of cyber security. Our solution could have prevented this glitch.”