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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.

How High-Voltage Isolation Technology Works

Want to understand how high-voltage isolation technology works? Watch and learn about reliability testing for isolation. Filmed in TI's high-voltage lab, this series of videos will focus on capacitive isolation structure, working voltage reliability, withstand voltage capability, methods for testing reliability, and more.

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.

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.  

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.


In this section, a summary of the entire “Anti-tamper Techniques to Thwart Attacks on Smart Meters” 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.

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