Is it time to worry about the cybersecurity of your solar system? As it turns out, solar power is not immune to the risk of cyber attacks. In March, the Sustainable Power Group (sPower) observed communication outages between their centralized monitoring center and several wind and solar power plants. Further investigation by the company revealed that their firewall had suffered from a DoS attack. DoS attacks overload computer connections with large amounts of data, and are a common weapon in cyber attacks.
What this means
Fortunately sPower has not reported any additional attacks, nor they did not experience any outages or system issues other than the temporary loss of monitoring. However, this has not been the first cyber attack on a power source and it probably won’t be the last. SecureLink reported Russian attacks on the nuclear power industry in March of 2018, and there are plenty of examples outside of the United States of successful attacks on power grids. Let’s hope that our cybersecurity innovators will develop better ways to protect not only our solar and wind power installations, but other contributions to our electric grid as well. In the meantime, it may be a smart idea to prepare for the Russians with residential solar at your home, or at least a flashlight and a generator.