Advanced Metering Infrastructure and Smart Grid Security

At a time where energy utilities play an increasingly important part of our everyday lives, smart grid technologies introduce new smart grid security challenges that must be addressed. Implementing a smart grid without proper advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) security could result in grid instability, loss of private information, utility fraud, and unauthorized access to energy consumption data.

Building a trusted secure smart grid will require robust smart grid security solutions that can be easily deployed at the communication and application layers of the smart grid infrastructure. 

Areas where smart grid protection is critical include: 

  • Device manufacturing

  • Secure communications

  • In-field firmware updates and provisioning

  • Device authentication

  • Secure meter management

The Importance of Smart Grid Security with PKI and HSMs

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Smart grid security solutions must be able to deploy on a large scale, with minimal effect on applications. Securing the smart grid at the communication layer will require a system to identify connected meters, to verify that these meters are configured correctly, and to validate these meters for network access.

The recommended solution for this authentication process is an identity based model, often a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). PKIs are ideal for large-scale AMI security deployments that require a high level of security with minimal impact on performance.

In a PKI environment, it is essential that private keys and certificates are guarded with a reliable key management solution that protects against ever-evolving data threats, such as hardware security modules (HSMs).

Applications Leveraging HSMs for Trusted Smart Grid Security:

  • Device Identities

  • Device Provisioning

  • Secure Message Processing

  • Device Authentication

  • Infrastructure Integrity with PKI Services

  • Secure Management

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