A conference of cybersecurity experts is meeting in Las Vegas this Friday to discuss how rooftop solar panels make homes much easier to hack.
The experts found that a malicious hacker can easily knock solar panels offline, cause them to intentionally overheat or shut down entirely. Some hacking can even use solar panels to cause physical damage in the real world.
“I could have installed spying software that would have had visibility into their home networks, seeing their emails and everything they did online,” Frederic Bret-Mounet, a cybersecurity expert who will speak at the Friday conference, told The USA Today. ”[T]hese lightly-protected systems could then be all too easily infiltrated, possibly with catastrophic effects on the state’s power grid.”
Mounet successfully hacked his own solar panels by having his computer guess passwords to take control of the system. The actual username and password combination used on solar panels were “admin” and “support.” He says that the lack of basic security in solar panels could allow a single hacker to both spy on and shutdown the power supply of many homes with rooftop panels.
Green energy systems and solar panels make the entire power grid increasingly vulnerable to hackers, according to a study published in June by The Manhattan Institute.