As the market for smart meters in the utility industry continues to grow, the need for advanced security features, such as secure boot, key management, firmware updates, and provisioning is growing with it. Security Platform Inc. (SPI) provides an embedded security platform solution for AMI 2.0 that enables device manufacturers to build more secure and robust smart meters efficiently and easily.
Utility companies deploying smart meters throughout communities are often challenged to respond to the many security threats facing a smart meter, including hacking, tampering, and electricity theft. Increasing privacy regulations also mean that utility companies must maintain secure communications with smart meters when updating software on devices or collecting customer data.
“Security is a serious issue in the utilities industry,” says Suik Hwang, CEO of SPI. “Utility companies expect strong security features in smart meters, but device manufacturers are not security experts. At SPI, we use the PSA Certified program as the basis of our security architecture for the middleware and security solution we’ve optimized on Arm-based technology.”
Device manufacturers know that our platform is certified on the best global standards which means they can follow those standards too, and we don’t need to open up our product source code for verification or provide stacks of documentation.
Fully Integrated Security Solution
A major benefit of the PSA Certified program for SPI is that all the companies involved in producing smart meters – from chip designers to software providers to device manufacturers – can follow the same security architecture guidelines. The result is a fully integrated device that gives utility service providers the assurance they need that their smart meters comply with fundamental security principles and that their customers’ data is protected. “PSA Certified saves us a lot of time and money because it means everyone involved in the design, assembly, and implementation of our solution can work from the same security framework,” Hwang says. “Only the PSA Certified program provides detailed guidelines for the system architecture, not just the application layer. PSA is very organized across all layers and helps us avoid inefficient and lengthy development.” The AMI 2.0 Secure Smart Meter has three core components: the PSA Certified Level 2 Nuvoton NuMicro M2351 MCU, the Arm Mbed OS, and the SPI middleware and security solution. The smart meter goes beyond basic security requirements to include device authentication, data encryption, secure boot, secure key management, and attestation. It also supports secure firmware updates and secure key generation for provisioning. “We’ve also integrated Pelion Device Management services for the utility companies,” Hwang explains. “This allows us to offer a prepackaged solution that is both more secure and highly efficient, regardless of the number of smart meters on the network.”
PSA Certified Products from SPI
Platform for Expanding Business Model
The PSA Certified classification is helping SPI expand its business on a security platform that can work with different types of devices and applications while earning customer trust in its solutions. PSA Certified Level 1 ensures the foundational level of security has been implemented into the device, however smart meters need a more robust solution, which SPI factors into its design. This is why SPI chose a PSA Certified Level 2 chip from Nuvoton that provides additional security features to protect against remote and scalable software attacks. It also intends to put additional SPI products through certification, including a VPN client for the surveillance market. “Device manufacturers know that our platform is certified on the best global standards which means they can follow those standards, too, and we don’t need to open up our product source code for verification or provide stacks of documentation,” Hwang says.