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Cerf, who is now a VP at Google, was elected last November to the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), a federally funded standards body. He is also participating in the Google Power Meter activity and acting as chairman of an advisory committee to NIST. In his keynote, Cerf outlined some of the snart grid’s current problems such as automatic configuration and protecting data but expressed confidence the issues could be addressed by designers
Cerf also stressed the need for better security in both the next-generation Internet and the smart grid, singling out the inherent vulnerability of today’s password system. “One of things incumbent on all of us is to introduce strong authentication into the fabric of the smart grid. We did not do that with the Internet. My excuse is public key cryptography was not even publically written about until 1977 which is just about when TCP/IP was getting standardized. But today we don’t want devices to respond to control from something that’s not authenticated.”
He pointed out that the smart grid has the opportunity to build in strong authentication techniques including digital signatures but noted that getting such an approach widely embraced on the existing Internet will be much harder.