Compass Crew Member Speaking at Black Hat USA

Cyrill Brunschwiler’s talk was selected “among the very best research available today” to be presented side-by-side with the security industries top researchers on the world’s most renowned security conference – Black Hat USA in Las Vegas.

He will be speaking on “Energy Fraud and Orchestrated Blackouts: Issues with Wireless Metering Protocols (wM-Bus)”.

The work presented provides insights into the security of the Meter Bus (M-Bus) as specified within the relevant standards. The M-Bus is very popular in remote meter reading and has its roots in the heat metering industries. It has continuously been adopted to fit more complex applications during the past twenty years. According to a workshop note, an estimated 15 million devices were relying on the wireless version of M-Bus in 2010. It was analyzed whether smart meters using wireless M-Bus do fit the overall security and reliability needs of the grid or whether such devices might threaten the infrastructure.

The M-Bus standard has been analyzed whether it provides effective security mechanisms. It can be stated that wireless M-Bus seems to be robust against deduction of consumption behaviour from the wireless network traffic. For this reason, it is considered privacy-preserving against network traffic analysis. Unfortunately, vulnerabilities have been identified that render that fact obsolete. The findings are mainly related to confidentiality, integrity, and authentication.

Consequently, smart meters relying on wireless M-Bus and supporting remote disconnects are prone to become subject to an orchestrated remote disconnect which poses a severe risk to the grid. Further issues may lead to zero consumption detection, disclosure of consumption values, and disclosure of encryption keys.

The full abstract is available at, OWASP and ICS-labs folks attending either Black Hat or DEFCON drop me a note! I’ll be glad to meet you in person.