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In response to growing concerns about the current electric grid's vulnerability to cyber attack, there’s a push on several fronts to develop better security solutions for the Smart Grid. Today, utilities typically link grid monitoring and control systems to open networks such as the Internet and critics charge they are not doing enough to reduce risks. Watch this section for insights on the future of cyber security – as well as solutions for safeguarding physical properties such as substations and transmission towers.

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More scary news about grid vulnerabilities (and how utilities are getting the blame)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid security, cybersecurity, cyber attacks, electric utilities
Amid all the news stories focused on grid vulnerabilities comes this gem: the owner of a small technology firm found that breaching the grid is easy, surprisingly easy. His warning? If he can do it, a country or someone with more resources certainly could.

Short on time? Take our quick tour of current smart grid market research

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid markets, smart grid market research, microgrids, customer engagement, cybersecurity
There’s a wealth of electricity industry and smart grid market research out there, frequently too much to follow. For a quick overview, take a look at a selection of some of the latest research, from trends in customer engagement and microgrids to combined heat and power and cybersecurity.

Why some insurers are dumping utilities. And how "the convergence of all things security" can help

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid security, grid vulnerabilities, electric utilities
Utilities already have enough challenges and problems to deal with, and now they have another one: some insurance companies refuse to insure them against cyberattacks. Three security experts from IBM share their insights on that development and what it will take to develop a truly secure grid.

Damned if you do department: Senators chasing those who reveal grid vulnerabilities

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid security, cybersecurity, FERC
Utilities have been pushed to share more about their grid vulnerabilities over the years to stay ahead of threats. But now two U.S. Senators are calling for an investigation into a leak involving sensitive FERC information on possible grid weaknesses. They’re alarmed at the possible consequences if that information should fall into the wrong hands and do not want it shared.

For utilities, banks, and other critical infrastructure providers, Y2K arrives April 8 2014

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, security, microgrids, smart grid strategy, electric utilities
Microsoft will end support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. While the announcement was made years ago, the very tough challenges for utilities and others working with critical infrastructure are no less real. Guest contributors Stuart McCafferty and Andy Bochman offer a detailed account of those challenges as well as ways to mitigate them.

What Homeland Security wants utilities to know and do

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid security, physical security, cybersecurity, policy and regulation, Homeland Security, electric utilities
Physical and cybersecurity are attracting a lot of scrutiny from inside and outside the energy industry… from agencies like NERC, members of Congress and now, the Department of Homeland Security. Click to read a Q&A with a Homeland Security official on the agency’s revised National Infrastructure Protection Plan and its recommendations.

Will the Feds take over grid security?

smart grid, modern grid, security, grid security, policy and regulation, electric utilities
Electric utilities have taken a lot of flak for not doing enough to protect the grid. Now, two U.S. congressmen have introduced legislation to give the federal government a larger role in policing the electric power industry. Unless the industry moves quickly and effectively to confront security issues, regulations eventually will come from outside.

The 3 kinds of cybersecurity every utility needs (and a reference architecture you need to know about)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid security, cybersecurity, electric utilities
Utilities are routinely criticized for not doing enough to address cybersecurity. With that in mind, guest author Brian Smith of EnerNex does an excellent job of laying out the challenges utilities face when forced to deal with constantly evolving threats. He also shares details of a pilot program intended to improve the agility of their cyber defense strategies.

Psssst! Pass these substation security ideas along to NERC. (Right now.)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid security, physical security, FERC, NERC, substations, electric utilities
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently told the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to develop a new physical security standard, and NERC has less than 90 days to do it. Doug Houseman of EnerNex has obviously put some serious thought into the issue and shares some very good ideas on substation security. Click to read what he has to say.

Smart grid security: WSJ reveals we're 10 bullets away from an 18-month blackout

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid security, cybersecurity, physical security, power blackouts, policy and regulation, FERC, electric utilities
Members of Congress recently have been drawn to electric grid and grid security issues. Whether they’re grandstanding or not, the attention is welcome if it will help get serious grid security planning and standards moving faster. Click to learn why Senator Dianne Feinstein is pushing FERC to do more for physical protection of the grid.

CIA, NSA and others tell utilities how to up their cybersecurity

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid security, cybersecurity, cyber attacks, cybersecurity strategies, policy and regulation
Cybersecurity threats are escalating to the point where reports of new attacks are coming almost daily. Fortunately, efforts to combat cyber attacks are growing too. A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center calls for a number of policy changes and new approaches utilities should know about. Click to learn more and to download the complete report.

Who's dominating smart grid security? New report lists 8 leaders

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid security, cybersecurity, cybersecurity vendors, electric utilities
Utilities depend on solid relationships with their cybersecurity vendors to keep them up to speed and prepared for the latest threats. Infiniti Research has released a list of what it considers the top eight companies in the cybersecurity field. Click to find out which companies they picked and see if you agree.

The secrets to integrated security (they're mostly people problems, says EPRI)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid security, cybersecurity, integrated security, EPRI, electric utilities
The Electric Power Research Institute has released strategies to help utilities plan and implement an Integrated Security Operations Center. The institute says an ISOC could have several advantages and yield significant value, but also makes it clear that a lot of technical resources, staff and time are needed to make it happen.

Cybersecurity and the North American Electric Grid: New Policy Approaches to Address an Evolving Threat

This report summary highlights key findings and recommendations from the co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Electric Grid Cybersecurity Initiative. It covers four topic areas: standards and best practices, information sharing, response to a cyber attack, and paying for cybersecurity

Hope for grid security? The federal government may actually get something done

smart grid, smart grid technology, smart grid security, policy and regulation, electric utilities
Congress may not be getting much done, but legislators did take two important steps toward enhancing grid resiliency and physical security. Click to read about proposed minimum physical security standards for critical substations and a recently passed amendment that calls for a comprehensive study of grid resiliency.

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