Energy Department spends $30M to bolster utility cybersecurity tools
Awards contracts to 11 security vendors to develop ways to protect electric grid, oil and gas infrastructure
Network World - The Department of Energy today awarded $30 million to a 11 security vendors to develop technology the agency says will better protect nation's electric grid, oil and gas infrastructure from cyber-attack.
The projects, which will combine power system engineering and cybersecurity, will include testing of the new products to demonstrate their effectiveness and interoperability, the DOE said.
The 11 projects selected include:
ABB, Inc: ABB will develop a system that allows substation devices to work together to validate the integrity of communications, such as commands to change a protective relay's configuration, and assess the potential impact on grid operations.
Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.: EPRI will develop a framework that allows utilities to centrally manage the remote configuration of their energy delivery system devices -- regardless of vendor or age -- more securely.
Foxguard Solutions, Inc.: Foxguard will develop a service that allows utilities to simplify the process of keeping up-to-date with the most current firmware and software patches and updates.
Georgia Tech Applied Research Corporation: The company will develop a technology that evaluates energy delivery system control commands to anticipate their impact on power grid operations and, if needed, implement cybersecurity responses to prevent disruptions.
Grid Protection Alliance: The alliance will develop an architecture that enables more secure substation communications for data generated by legacy or modern energy delivery devices.
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association: NRECA will develop a network that allows utilities and small electric cooperatives with limited resources to centrally manage their networks more securely.
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc.: The company will develop an integrated cyber-physical access control system that simplifies the process of managing access to energy delivery facilities.
Schweitzer: The company will develop a radio platform for more secure "last mile" wireless communications used with remote energy delivery infrastructure such as distribution substations.
Schweitzer: Schweitzer will develop software that allows utilities to centrally manage their local area networks more securely, providing real-time awareness of cyber activity and rerouting network traffic in response to cyber intrusions.
TT Government Solutions, Inc.: TT will develop a technology that analyzes and visualizes smart meter wireless communications to quickly detect unusual behavior that could suggest a cyber-attack.
Viasat, Inc.: Viasat will develop an architecture that gives utilities awareness of the status of their energy delivery systems' cybersecurity, and allows them to automatically respond to cyber intrusions as predetermined in the utility's cybersecurity policy.
While the DOE's investment is welcomed, a survey of U.S. utilities in May shows what many utilities are up against. That survey called "Electric Grid Vulnerability," said more than a dozen utilities said cyberattacks were daily or constant. The survey was commissioned by U.S. Democratic Representatives Edward J. Markey and Henry A. Waxman who are members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee.
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