Key management

Key management is a fundamental element in information security. This security must be ensured in the communication between the meter test system and the meter under test. The best solution for this is the protected integration with a Meter Data Management System (MDMS) or a similar infrastructure. The MDMS ensures that all data required for the test procedure will be provided.

What does key management mean?

The task of the key management is to administrate the keys required for the encryption procedures (also: cryptographic1 procedures).

The security of the encrypted communication or the encrypted data depends directly on the key management. It guarantees the privacy of the keys and checks them for authenticity. The key management is responsible for the generation, storage, exchange and protection of the keys. Alternative term is encryption key management2.

1 Cryptology: Cryptology (Greek κρυπτός kryptós "hidden, concealed, secret" and logic) is a science that deals with the encryption and decryption of information and thus with information security. Source: Wikipedia (Free translation of the German version)
2 Source: www.security-insider.de (Free translation of the German version)

Why do you need an MDMS in meter testing?

For the communication between the meter test system and the meter, a successful connection to the protected3 DUT (device under test) is required. Key information and passwords must be provided as soon as the test is carried out. Manual processing by the operator is not only inconvenient, it is also not suitable due to the safety relevant information.

Keys and passwords can be provided in encrypted form by means of a protected connection of the test system via MDMS or a similar infrastructure. The decryption and delivery of the required data is carried out directly at the test system. Although the inspector can follow a successful decryption, but he cannot read it as plain text.

3 protected here means, for example, that passwords are used to verify the authorisation of the user or encryption procedures to ensure that data cannot be read or modified during transmission.

Implementation for meter testing

The implementation for ZERA test systems is done by web-based solutions with REST/API and SOAP/XML or JSON via a protected TLS4 connection. Advantages of these solutions are for example their popularity and use on distributed systems. REST interfaces are future-proof, expandable and use industry-wide standards. Security is guaranteed by a protected TLS connection. If necessary, this interface can also be adapted to customised systems. Our solution has already been successfully implemented by customers in Germany and Austria.

With the appropriate hardware - our new STM6000 system - we offer you a universal and future-proof concept, which is perfectly prepared for the various customer systems and individual requirements. For information about suitable components, please visit our website or contact our sales department salesmaps on@zera.de .

4 TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. The transport layer security is used for security of networked systems and describes a protocol layer for encoding, for example, communication data. These data are exchanged in the German market for example - on WAN side - between the smart meter gateway and authorized participants or - on LMN side - between smart meter gateway and Basiszähler (electrical energy meter).

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