Smart grid security: The problems are pretty clear... so what are the solutions?


By Liz Enbysk

SGN Managing Editor


We've written a lot lately about reports claiming massive, sustained cyber-espionage targeting energy sector.  In fact just last month we told you about a Poughkeepsie, New York utility being hacked. And physical security is also a big issue for many electric utilities - copper wire thefts at substations to illegal electrical hookups and siphoning to meter tampering - problems some say are going from bad to worse.


We're pretty certain there's no single, sure-fire defense against such attacks. But we thought it was worth a look at some options, starting with three new solutions on the market that caught our eye:


·         GE's CyberSentry Security Event Manager (SEM) is a cybersecurity management and monitoring system specifically designed to help guard substation power system assets from issues or outages occurring as a result of malicious attacks or human error. "CyberSentry SEM ensures that changes to the configuration of a protection and control system are flagged and investigated," explained GE's Bala Vinayagam. "It also provides users with a detailed report of what changes have been made and how to resolve the cybersecurity issue at hand.” Read more about it >>


·         SightLogix, a smart thermal camera manufacturer for perimeter security applications, has integrated its video analytics solution with Vicon Industries' ViconNet video management software (VMS) to enhance outdoor security for protecting critical assets. The video analytic cameras, which detect objects that violate perimeter security rules, can now send video and alarm information to the ViconNet system for up-close alarm verification and processing. Read more about it >>


·         Trend Micro's new Enterprise Security and Data Protection suite is designed to help mitigate the risks of attacks and data breaches that can occur when employee-owned technologies - for instance smartphones, tablets, laptops and removable drives - are introduced into a company's IT environment, creating new entry points for cyber-espionage and data loss. Said Ron Clarkson, the company's VP of enterprise mobility: "Deploying Trend Micro Enterprise Security and Data Protection across endpoint, mobile, mail, and gateway enables organizations to reduce risk while still embracing consumerization." Read more about it >>

How good is your utility's security?

We told you last summer about free tools from the Energy Department that can help utilities determine if their security is as good as they think it is. In case you missed it:

·         The Electricity Subsector Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model (ES-C2M2), which allows electric utilities and grid operators to assess their cybersecurity capabilities and prioritize their actions and investments to improve cybersecurity, combines elements from existing cybersecurity efforts into a common tool that can be used consistently across the industry.

·         The Cyber Security Self-Evaluation Survey Tool poses a series of questions that focus on areas including situational awareness and threat and vulnerability management.

Links for the tools are here >>


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