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Solar Energy Industry Charged Up About Security

Solar Energy Farms found out the hard way that wireless (WiFi) is insecure!

Recent attacks on global energy infrastructure has shown how easy it is to severely disrupt the ability to power our populous majority technological driven society.

These attacks can affect local communities, cities, states or entire countries depending on the will of the attackers. Sloppy security planning and reliance on unsecured technologies, like WiFi wireless, has allowed a majority of these attacks to get into access control and LAN data streams of connected facilities. One of the biggest threats facing Solar panel farms today is the use of WiFi / Wireless technology to remotely control solar panel arrays.

Today, most solar PV panels are serial controlled and require powered serial-to-LAN converters. On solar panel arrays over 328ft /100m away, they are typically connected to a WiFi Wireless LAN. As most all of us are fully aware by now – there is no such thing as wireless security regardless of encryption used.

Anything put into the air can easily be interpreted, spoofed and cracked open allowing basic hackers direct access to anything connected – your PV panels and all computer systems attached.

To solve this challenge, secure hardline Ethernet Extenders and in some cases PoE Extenders are rapidly deployed and connected directly into the LAN ports on access control and other LAN devices where WiFi gear once allowed hackers in.

Ethernet Extenders also turn out to be a far more cost effective solution and can even run off the same power feed as the panels they are protecting.

SolarWorld Americas Says Hackers in China Stole Documents

As recent as Sept 1st, 2014 – SolarWorld Americas, the largest manufacturer of solar panels in the United States, has asked the Commerce Department to investigate claims that Chinese military personnel broke into the company’s computers and stole documents important to its business and its long-running trade dispute with China.

This leak also happened to be a result of SolarWorld Americas use of cheap Chinese LAN equipment in their own network that was infected with spyware. – So just another lesson to be very careful about buying what appears to be cheaper, lower cost Networking equipment – especially anything Made in China.

Protect your LAN Networks and stick to trusted reputable brands that are only Made in the USA.