Smart grid network security enhancements planned for Sensus AMI system

Sensus is further enhancing the existing security capabilities of its advanced metering network infrastructure by incorporating encryption and key management technologies from IBM...

Jul 8th, 2011

RALEIGH, NC, July 8, 2011 -- Sensus is further enhancing the existing security capabilities of its advanced metering network infrastructure by incorporating encryption and key management technologies from IBM into its FlexNet™ communications system for water, gas, and electric utility smart endpoints.

Sensus will use the IBM Tivoli® Key Lifecycle Manager (TKLM) software to centralize and automate the encryption key management process for all network deployments. Further, the technology integration will include NSA Suite B standards compliant cryptographic logic from IBM in all newer generation devices.

"We have to look at security as a moving target," said Matt Zafuto, vice president of strategic alliances at Sensus. "In the same way that we continually update a personal computer against new viruses, we have to be constantly vigilant of new threats against critical infrastructures, such as utility networks."

IBM will implement an asymmetric key based solution using elliptic curve cryptography (ECC). In addition to the strong confidentiality and integrity of the existing encryption protocol, Sensus FlexNet customers will get the added benefit of digital signatures and non-repudiation. The TKLM integration will also provide a simple, user friendly key locker interface that will enable utilities to securely manage the encryption keys.

According to Zafuto, the IBM products will ensure a much higher degree of safety from any future threats. "By combining the technological strengths of both Sensus and IBM, we can produce the level of security our customers require and help drive industry compliance with the most rigorous security standards and guidelines like the NIST IR 7628," added Zafuto.

Sensus expects to have the new IBM encryption and key management functionality available to customers by early 2012.

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