ORIGINAL REPORTING: Why grid security is today’s most pressing issue
Why utilities say grid security is the most pressing sector issue of 2017; The successful hack of Ukraine's electric grid in late 2015 got the sector's attention, Utility Dive's recent survey shows
Herman K. Trabish, April 10, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: As those who have alr3ady been “Equifaxed” can attest, there is no such thing as cyber-security.
In December 2015, grid control center operators in Ukraine watched helplessly as their cursors moved across their computer displays, clicking substations offline. They frantically struggled to retake control until being involuntarily logged out. Before the cyber-attack ended, three stations were seized and over 225,000 Ukrainian electricity customers lost power. The hackers also shut down the three centers’ uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), leaving the operators themselves in the dark, according to a detailed study of the incident. It concluded the cyber-attacks were “bold and successful.”
That hack, along with subsequent (and quickly debunked) headlines of a cyber attack on a Vermont utility, appears to have increased utility concern about the security of their power systems. In Utility Dive’s fourth annual State of the Electric Utility Survey, more than 600 utility professionals named cyber and physical security the most pressing concern for their companies, with 72% saying it is either “important” or “very important” today. The Ukraine attack continues to animate utility sector planning for enhanced security. But as new distributed resources and grid technologies add more complexity to the system, keeping security practices up to date is likely to be a continuous job. The physical and cyber security concern is a national trend. There has been no successful cyber attacks against U.S. utilities that caused permanent or long term damage to power system operations. But, researchers cautioned, there has been “a steady rise in cyber and physical security related events… click here for more