Yesterday on the front page of the Wall Street Journal was a report of cyber-attacks on electric utility systems. Computerworld gives this overview of the story. Cheryl Morgan provides a run down of some of the issues, including whether development of a smart grid will increase or decrease the vulnerability of transmission infrastructure to internet-based disruptions.
The WSJ‘s Environmental Capital blog also raises the smart grid angle, asking whether a smart grid will help repel attackers or make access easier.
I’m not expert enough on utility computer systems generally, or computer security specifically, to offer many useful remarks. My intuition is that a well-designed transactive smart grid will help minimize the costs of any intrusion, since it should decentralize decisionmaking and control relative to the vertically-oriented, centralized utility systems we have today.