Utilities companies are spending billions against cyber attack

Utilities companies are spending billions against cyber attack

TelcoWith cyber attack launch on utilities company around the world, the latest being in December 2015 when Russia infiltrated Ukraine’s electricity power grid that disrupted 225,000 customers.

it is a matter of time until another country power grid is shuts down. If that happened it could have devastating economic and security reprocution since electricity is needed to operate pipelines, medical facilities, telecommunications, military base and other critical infrastructure.

Cybersecurity controls for distribution systems, where utilities deliver electricity to customers are lacking. If a breach of security on utility is successful it could result on power outage that could extend to destabilizes electricity in large areas, possibly damage parts of interconnected systems. Therefore, the US utilities will spend $7.25 billion on grid cybersecurity by 2020.

Cutting edge technologies are critical to help the electricity sector to adapt with the cyber threat landscape. Utilidata and Raytheon are working together to detect and respond to cyber attacks on the grid.

While there is an overabundance of commercial products available to project the grid from cyber attacks, the cost to fund these cybersecurity efforts for states and utilities are difficult.

There is a limited amount of grants to fund such initiatives though the Federal Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security. Utilities could partner with other companies to identify creative ways to fund cost-effective cybersecurity. By sharing the cost, it is a possible for utilities to update energy infrastructure with products. Those savings could be applied to fund and enhance cybersecurity efforts.

Every utility should be required to perform a risk assessment of cyber threats. By doing a risk assessment companies would have a clear cybersecurity goals, informed decision-making and the identification of steps to reduce threats. The cyber attack in Ukraine should be a lesson learned for all utilities companies around the world. A possibility should be working with the private sector to implement products to ensure what happened in Ukraine should not happened anywhere else.

Unfortunately, this is the kind of threat that tends to be neglected until another attack heightens awareness of consequences.