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Security & Identification

Pre-Paid Meters

The mobile phone contains a pre-charged balance, which the user transfers to the meter via RFID

In order to ensure that consumers pay their energy or water bills, pre-paid systems will be used increasingly in future. On campsites, in holiday homes and in areas with a poor payment history, the pre-paid method is a tried and tested solution. While coin meters have to be adjusted frequently to new tariffs, an RFID-compatible Smartphone offers a better option. The mobile phone contains a pre-charged balance, which the user transfers to the meter via RFID. As long as the meter still has credit, it allows the use of power, water, etc.; once the balance is used it switches off. When a new credit is transferred via RFID, the cycle begins again.

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Smart Grid Authentication

The smart power grid of the future, which will probably achieve full coverage around 2017 to 2020, would be unimaginable without identification and cryptology technology

The energy generated by the wind or the sun is strongly dependent on environmental influences. Since it is often impossible to supply this energy to consumers without over-loading the grid, the wind power plants often turn out of the wind. Energy suppliers are therefore keen to transfer as much energy as possible to customers during these load peaks. With a smart meter it is possible, for example, to heat water or activate the washing machine when these load peaks are detected. Energy suppliers prefer to sell the power cheaper during low-demand periods rather than shutting down the generator. Consequently, energy suppliers want to control these consumers remotely. However, it is important to protect the system from hackers, who could potentially paralyse entire cities or even countries. Since transformer stations will also be controlled remotely in future, they must also be connected to the control room via high-grade secure cables. The security requirements in this field are higher than for banking because the elements are system-related. The security requirements are set to Category EAL5+. Conventional wired crypto controllers can be used to meet this high level of security. At present, the BSI (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik, Federal Office for Information Security) defines the security requirements for Germany, while CENELEC performs this task at European level.