Eavesdropping on Smart Meters with RTLSDR (and a standard for future leaks, NSA/AUS DSD/Indonesia, John Kerry and climate change)

Smart meters transmit usage information on the 900Mhz ISM band. If you can get access to the data, you can map out when everyone in your neighborhood is home, when they’re on vacation, what TV show they’re watching…

No, the data is not encrypted.

Yes, you can now use an RTLSDR to decode it.

Yes, you should not let the utility install a “smart meter” on your house, or you should get really into alternative energy and work out some kind of load-spreading thing. With about a billion batteries in your basement and solar cells on your roof, a wind turbine, and a hydropower plant on the creek running through your backyard.

Who said being green and privacy don’t go together?

Or just run the diesel generator you keep for power outages whenever you’re watching porn. That’ll show ’em.

A standard for future leaks?
“No one has persuaded me I need to worry about an agency of a democratically-elected liberal government.”

Catherine Fitzgerald is usually wrong, but she’s often wrong in an interesting way. The above quote is a pretty good benchmark for whistleblowing and leakery.

If you want change, the best kinds of leaks are those that will persuade even the most head-in-the-sand “I want the State to take care of me” types that, indeed, you should worry.


The NSA may have spied on a US law firm, breaking attorney-client privilege. Certainly the Aussies did.

The Aussies also got very deep access to the Indonesian phone system.

John Kerry calls climate change a “weapon of mass destruction.” Does this mean they’ll be pushing for “regime change” — in Canada, with its pro-pollution Harper government? Executing drone strikes against the oil sands? http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/02/16/us-kerry-climate-idINBREA1F0BP20140216


“For several years now utilities have been using “smart meters” to optimize their residential meter reading infrastructure. Smart meters continuously transmit consumption information in the 900MHz ISM band allowing utilities to simply send readers driving through neighborhoods to collect commodity consumption information. The protocol used to transmit these messages is fairly straight forward, however I have yet to find any reasonably priced product for receiving these messages.

This project is a proof of concept software defined radio receiver for these messages. We make use of an inexpensive rtl-sdr dongle to allow users to non-invasively record and analyze the commodity consumption of their household.

Currently the only known supported and tested meter is the Itron C1SR. However, the protocol is designed to be useful for several different commodities and should be capable of receiving messages from any ERT capable smart meter.”

%d bloggers like this: