University of Passau
University of Vienna

The EuroNF project SPEC

We believe that the relation between security, privacy and energy efficiency is strategic with far reaching impact and paramount importance for the next generation networks and future Internet. This vision includes – on the end-users side – millions of networked and interconnected devices that reach as far as into everyone‟s household. One example would be smart meters that communicate with the grid operators, enabling optimized power distribution to future households.
On the service-providers‟ side, the next generation of networking devices will be highly efficient by applying technologies like virtualization and adjusting to the current workload by dynamically switching the power-states of CPUs and other hardware.

While both of these parts of future networks seem different at first, they share the common need for security and privacy. Without considering security and end-user privacy as an important aspect, we may never be able to get to this vision of the future Internet. An example for that can currently be observed in the Netherlands, where the deployment of smart meters in households has been postponed due to various privacy concerns. Due to facts like these, we have to identify and efficiently fight the key security and privacy issues in energy efficiency for ICT on the one hand, and on the other ICT for energy efficiency:

When we talk of energy efficiency for ICT infrastructures, virtualization comes at the forefront and is among the key enabler technologies for energy efficient computing and is of critical importance for the future Internet. While the results achieved through virtualization are very promising, the security of virtualized systems has yet to be proven. For example, reports from Gartner indicate that by 2012, 60% of the virtualized servers will be less secure than their current un-virtualized counterparts, which is mainly due to expected security holes in virtualization software. Acknowledging the importance of this specific technology, we would like to investigate the security threats and their impact in virtualized resources within the context of EE. We want to focus on research questions like: Does virtualization introduce new attack vectors and/or security loopholes? Are the existing threats to security diminished, enhanced or remain the same?

The second concept, as discussed before, is to utilize ICT for energy efficiency and here we like to focus on the concept of smart metering which has emerged as a means to reduce energy consumption in the wide market of domestic households. Recently, deployment of smart meters is on the verge of increase as they have a number of benefits for consumers, including the ability to monitor energy consumption in real time thereby inducing user behavioral changes which improves efficiency.
However the flip side is, if access to information within smart meters is gained, certain privacy issues arise. Thus, existing privacy concerns are exacerbated by the existence of such intelligent meters in households. For instance, an obvious scenario is to extract information about the habits of the owner from his/her energy profile. Considering it as an important technology of the future, we focus on the privacy concerns which can arise within households using smart meters.