Vulnerability in Solar Panels Could Leave Europe in the Dark

///Vulnerability in Solar Panels Could Leave Europe in the Dark

A data security specialist has revealed a serious vulnerability in the solar panel system of electric power generation that could cause serious problems in the supply of electricity from various regions of Europe.

The complaint was made through the Dutch publication Volkskrant, which received the information from security specialist – also Dutch – Willem Westerhof. According to him, the problem would be located in a specific part of the solar panels, the inverter, which transforms the direct current generated by the alternating current.

The expert said that thousands of solar panels that work with Internet of Things can be accessed and have this vulnerability exploited by hackers. Having access to the inverter of the power generation devices, malicious intruders could activate them simultaneously, generating an overload in the power supply system that would tear down networks in many parts of Europe.

High voltage

To get an idea of the size of the problem, it is worth remembering that in 2006, a high voltage line in Germany was disconnected and cities like Paris and Madrid spent hours without electricity.

This network dealt with about 5 gigawatts. Taking into account that the vulnerability discovered by Westerhof is responsible for about 15 gigawatts, the current problem may be three times worse than that of 11 years ago.

In addition to the publication made by the Dutch site, Willem Westerhof has put up a page explaining in detail the vulnerability and how it can affect the electricity supply in Europe. Called Horus Scenario, the site can be accessed by clicking on this link.

Hits: 637

By |2017-08-08T14:30:50+00:00August 8th, 2017|Data Security, Technology|5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Daniel Ogeto O. September 10, 2017 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Digital technology in the 21st Century has increased efficiency and the quality of life. However, some applications of digital technology, if not well managed or properly constituted, can be overly catastrophic and costly. Take the example of the inverters issue, as stated, the Dutch researcher Willem Westerhof found that the inverters in solar panels, the part that converts the electricity generated by the panels into electricity that can be used by the grid, had 17 different vulnerabilities that could be taken advantage of by hackers. The good news is that several inverters would have to be compromised at once to cause any significant issues in the grid and even then it would be unlikely to cause a total black out. This is preventable. The proper use of digital technology in this instance may require users to change any default passwords. The other really hack proof solution is to disconnect the inverters from the internet, which would remove the weakness completely, but that would reduce the efficiency that digital technology seeks to offer.

  2. Aldon Galido September 11, 2017 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Thank God that this vulnerability was first discovered by a non-malicious character! Cities aiming to redesign themselves as smart cities need to treat network security as very vital to realizing an Internet of Things framework on a city scale. When basic services are connected to the internet and to the world, one must not skimp on security so as to be able to constantly and properly provide excellently.

  3. Aldon Galido September 11, 2017 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Thank God that this vulnerability was first discovered by a non-malicious character! Cities aiming to redesign themselves as smart cities need to treat network security as very vital to realizing an Internet of Things framework on a city scale. When basic services are connected to the internet and to the world, one must not skimp on security so as to ensure that these services cannot be cutoff unauthorized by people with wrong intentions.

  4. Jonney October 10, 2017 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    Due to the way power grids are built, any disturbance, small or large, will have a long-lasting and quick-spreading impact. Actually, no. Disturbances are a daily occurrence on the grid. If you spend time with the people who work in a substantially-sized generation facility, for example, you’ll hear phrases like “the 500-megawatt club.” This refers to people who, through carelessness or just bad luck, caused a plant to “trip.” When a generator trips, all of its power stops…and the “size” of the club’s membership refers to just how much generation power they ended up yanking off the grid in a very short interval.

  5. Estephanía Sandoval December 30, 2017 at 12:15 am - Reply

    The danger lies in that an attack could be made on hundreds or thousands of inverters to alter the flow of energy and collapse the network, which is why it would end up falling. It is estimated that solar panels with vulnerabilities could manage a total of 17 GW. In 2006, in Germany, 5 GW of power was lost due to a technical problem. The problem was so great that 10 million people across Europe suffered blackouts (including people from Spain, France, Austria, and many more countries, including Morocco). 17 GW could be much more devastating. We are not only talking about the loss of data security, but also multimillion-dollar losses (an estimated 4500 million euros for a blackout of only 3 hours). The goverment should take care about this situation that involves an entire continent. Good post!

Leave A Comment