There have been a number of energy infrastructure hacking attacks around the world – a demonstration of just how easy it can be to cripple a region that’s totally dependent on technology.
Depending on what the hackers want to do, these kinds of attacks can affect a local community or an entire country. The problem stems from the lack of worthwhile security planning and the dependence of unsecured technologies such as Wi-Fi wireless. It’s enabled hackers to garner access to the LAN data streams and access control of the connected facilities.
Solar Panel Farms faces this type of threat. It uses the Wi-Fi/Wireless technology to control solar panel arrays from a distance. The issue is that the majority of solar PV panels are controlled serially and need to have a LAN converter with arrays of more than 328 feet. For that reason, they’re connected via a Wi-Fi Wireless LAN connection.
Most folks know, there’s no type of wireless security no matter what kind of encryption is used. Anything that goes into the air can be deceived, interpreted or cracked. This opens up doors to hacking and allows access to any devices connected.
This includes the PV panels and any attached computer system.
In order to address this, PoE Extenders or hardline Ethernet Extenders can be used and connect right to a LAN port on access control along with other LAN devices that used to have Wi-Fi technology on it.
Ethernet Extenders are a much more viable and economic solution, using the same feed as the panels they protect.
Chinese Military Personnel Caught Hacking into SolarWorld Americas Computers
In September 2014, the largest U.S. solar panels manufacturer SolarWorld Americas requested the Commerce Department to look into claims that Chinese military personnel had broken into their computers and gained information related to its business and the on-going trade dispute it had with China.
According to SolarWorld, the incident happened because the company used the inexpensive, low-quality Chinese LAN equipment on their network that had been infected with spyware. (Yet another reason why you shouldn’t buy bargain priced networking equipment, especially if it comes from China).
If you’re on a LAN network, don’t take chances! Stay with a highly-reputable trusted brand that makes all their products in the U.S.
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