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Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters

Non-technical losses (“theft”) account for billions of dollars of revenue loss for utility providers around the world as individuals are able to hack meters to slow or stop the accumulation of energy usage statistics. This loss has driven increased requirements for enhancing the protection designed into new smart meters.  This training session will discuss different methods of attacking smart meters and how TI’s analog portfolio can be used to detect or even prevent these attacks. In one scenario magnets are used to saturate any transformers present in the system. New TI Designs use AMC1304/05 isolated modulators and transformer-less power supplies to immunize the meter from these attacks.  Other TI Designs will use the DRV503x Hall Effect sensors to detect the presence of powerful magnets in any dimension and alert the utility to the attempt. Finally, we will discuss using the LDC0851 to replace mechanical solutions in detection of case tampering attacks.

1. Introduction

This section covers what is meter tampering, why is this a problem for utility providers, and some common ways a meter is tampered.

# Title Duration
1.1 Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters--Introduction: What is Meter Tampering and Why do Utility Companies Care about it
This module covers what is meter tampering and why is this a problem for utility providers.
03:42
1.2 Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters--Introduction: Common Meter Tampering Techniques
This module covers common meter tampering techniques.
08:40
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2. Detecting case tamper attacks using inductive switches

The first line of defense against tampering by bypassing current, reversing connections, and disconnecting leads is the meter case. Due to this, it is common for utilities to require some form of intrusion detection system to detect when someone opens a case.  In this section, we will cover how to detect someone trying to open the case of a meter. For this section, we will provide details on the previous mechanical implementation, its disadvantages, as well as a new way to detect case openings using inductive switches.  Details on our new inductive-based case tamper detection reference design will be provided.

# Title Duration
2.1 Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters—Detecting case tamper attacks using inductive switches: Case Tamper Detection Implementations
This module discusses the common mechanical implementation for case tamper detection and a new way to detect case openings using inductive switches
07:10
2.2 Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters—Detecting case tamper attacks using inductive switches: Designing PCB Inductors and Selecting a Target Metal
This module covers how to design and optimize PCB coils used for the inductive-based case tamper detection implementation. 
03:12
2.3 Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters—Detecting case tamper attacks using inductive switches: TIDA-01377 Case Tamper Detection using Inductive Sensing Reference Design Demo
Watch the TIDA-01377 in action as it detects when someone opens the terminal block case of an electricity meter!  
07:35
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3. Detecting magnetic tampering using hall-effect sensors

For anti-tampering, it is common to try to detect the presence of a strong magnet. In this section, we will cover the use of hall sensors for low-power detection of strong magnetic fields in three dimensions.  Details on our magnetic tamper detection reference design, TIDA-00839, will be provided as well as some of the design considerations that were kept in mind when creating this reference design.  

# Title Duration
3.1 Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters— Detecting magnetic tampering using hall-effect sensors: TIDA-00839 Magnetic Tamper Detection Reference Design Features
This module covers how to the use hall sensors, such as the DRV5033, for the low-power detection of strong magnetic fields in three dimensions.
07:42
3.2 Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters— Detecting magnetic tampering using hall-effect sensors: Magnetic Tamper Detection Testing
This module discusses magnetic tampering tests that were performed on the TIDA-00839 reference design using the DRV5033 to detect magnetic tampering in...
06:00
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4. Hardening a meter against magnetic tamper attacks

In this section, we will cover how to harden a meter against these magnetic tamper attacks by using shunts for current sensors. For poly-phase implementations, I will go over how to use isolated delta sigma modulators to add the necessary isolation to use shunt current sensors and create magnetically immune poly-phase energy measurement systems. The TIDA-00601 and TIDA-01094 reference designs, which show how to implement a poly-phase isolated shunt measurement system, will be discussed as well as the associated AMC1304 high-side power supplies used in these designs.

# Title Duration
4.1 Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters— Hardening a meter against magnetic tamper attacks: Isolated Shunt Sensing Building Blocks
This module explains different measurement building blocks that could be used to implement isolated shunt current sensors for poly-phase systems.
06:00
4.2 Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters— Hardening a meter against magnetic tamper attacks: Transformer Based High-Side Power Supplies
This module covers the advantages and disadvantages of using a transformer-based power supply to power the high-side of the AMC1304
03:12
4.3 Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters— Hardening a meter against magnetic tamper attacks: Cap-Drop Based High-Side Power Supplies
This module covers the advantages and disadvantages of using a cap drop power supply to power the high-side of the AMC1304
05:35
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5. Summary

In this section, a summary of the entire “Securing Smart Meters from Attack with TI Analog” training module would be covered.  This summary would cover the “Detecting case tamper attacks using inductive switches “, “Detecting magnetic tampering using hall-effect sensors “,  and “Hardening a meter against magnetic tamper attacks “ sections of the training series. Links will be provided for the reference designs and design tools that were discussed during this training series.

# Title Duration
5.1 Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters— Summary
In this short module, a summary of the entire “Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters” training series will be covered.
01:00
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