Solar panel converters are vulnerable to hacking, the Dutch Government Inspectorate for Digital Infrastructure (RDI) warned in a study published on Tuesday, stating that many of them did not meet cybersecurity requirements.
The RDI is tasked with the maintenance and safeguarding of Dutch digital infrastructure. In 2022, solar energy provided roughly 14% of the country’s energy supply – the highest share of solar power in the electricity mix of any EU country.
“Many converters cause interference and are cyber insecure. This causes wireless devices nearby, for example, to fail or malfunction and solar panel installations can be hacked,” the study reads.
Solar panel converters ensure that the sunlight caught by solar panels can be converted into electricity. Nine solar panel converters were analysed within the framework of the study, with five converters showing signs that they were at risk.
The study also found that not one of the analysed solar panel converters met the requirements for cybersecurity, as they are “easily hacked, remotely disabled or used for DDoS attacks”.
“Given our current geopolitical situation” since the start of the Ukraine war, attacks against Dutch solar panel infrastructure have become more realistic, John Derksen, equipment director at the RDI, told NOS.
“If you launch an organised action on that, turning off all the converters at once and turning them on again, you will get spikes in your power grid. That can topple the power grid. Then the whole Netherlands could run out of power,” he added.
The RDI advised the producers of the converters with subpar cybersecurity to improve their security in order to meet legal requirements, which will apply from August 1st, 2024 onwards.
(Benedikt Stöckl | EURACTIV.com)
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