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What’s been bothering us this fortnight
Security advice for PC and mobile
Solar panel hack could take down the grid
Hackers could exploit a recently discovered flaw in solar panels to overload energy grids and cause power cuts, according to new research. Dutch researcher Willem Westerhof found 17 vulnerabilities in solar power inverters – the hardware that converts the energy gathered by solar panels into electricity that the main grid can use.
Many of these inverters are connected to the internet, which means hackers could potentially target them and control the flow of power remotely. Westerhof was able to demonstrate the hack on two inverters produced by German supplier SMA during a field test near Amsterdam. “If an attacker does that on a large scale, that has serious consequences for the power grid stability,” Westerhof told the BBC.
SMA said that the vulnerabilities affected only four of its models, and that all its other devices adhere to the latest security standards. It urged users to change their default passwords when the devices are installed. bit.ly/solar430
Another Chrome extension injected with adware
The developer of a popular Chrome extension has warned users to update to the latest version after hackers managed to hijack the plugin, injecting ads and potentially running malicious scripts on the victim’s browser.
Chris Pederick, author of the Web Developer for Chrome extension ( bit.ly/ webdev430) warned users that he’d fallen victim to a phishing scam, and that his admin credentials had been stolen. Hackers were able to modify the extension to a version containing a bundled script command and send it to more than a million users.
The hack follows a similar attack on the Chrome extension Copyfish, which was also hijacked by adware. bit.ly/chromehack430