The energy infrastructure, in need of grid modernization, is a high value target for cyber warfare. The major risks to the energy grid stem from five factors. The first factor is physical access to heavily instrumented systems with no protection points on the board at manufacture, and the large attack surface due to the number of access points. The second factor is the manipulation of demand attacks from appliances that can leverage botnets to manipulate the power demand in the grid, to trigger local power outages and potentially large-scale blackouts. The third factor is the targeting of unprotected supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and other industrial control system (ICS) software. The fourth factor is that intrusion detection systems are tuned down to reduce the number of false positive alerts, to the point that it becomes useless. The fifth factor is that unlike the IT approach of quarantining infected user workstations (endpoints) with virtual LAN (VLAN) based network segmentation, power generation and distribution systems in OT are live and quarantining devices in an interconnected system disrupts service and causes undesirable outage. Reactive approaches based on network-based anomaly detection and deep-packet inspection of application protocols will be challenged eventually by the onset of encrypted network traffic (without application reengineering) in the years ahead.
The strategy will require at least:
Smart Electric Grid
Power plants in the US generating 1,075 gigawatts of installed generation
Department of Homeland Security
Perimeter-based defenses and threat detection technologies are not enough to defend against modern cyber attacks. Our electric grids are under attack by nation states. Many legacy programmable logic controllers (PLCs), intelligent edge devices (IEDs), remote terminal units (RTUs), controllers, gateways, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) edge devices are vulnerable due to a lack of basic cryptographic controls such as: multi-factor authentication, secure boot, secure update, and secure, encrypted communications.
Electric utilities industrial automation manufacturers must ensure compliance with cybersecurity standards such as NERC CIP 003, NIST 800-53, IEC 62443-3-3, and FIPS 140-2. Keeping up with these standards as well as emerging standards from the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and Industrie 4.0 is challenging.
Mocana’s end-to-end cybersecurity system is a FIPS 140-2 validated embedded cybersecurity software solution that ensures device trustworthiness and secure communications by giving industrial automation manufacturers. With solutions for new builds and legacy, brownfield upgrades, Mocana provides electric utilities and OEMs with an easy way to harden new or legacy brownfield RTUs, IEDs, and controllers with multi-factor authentication and trust chaining, as well as secure boot to validate the firmware, OS and applications.