The Colonial Pipeline ransomware cyber attack has once again focused the public’s attention on cyber threats and the energy sector, but we know that GridWise members are thinking about cybersecurity every day. The increasingly digitized and interconnected grid, along with the growing number of distributed energy resources plugging into the grid, expands the threat landscape. Cyber criminals, “hack-tivists,” and hostile national states are driving the increase in cyber attacks with the goal of disrupting the grid or collecting ransom. A recent survey of utility executives revealed that 56 percent of respondents reported at least one shutdown or operational data loss per year. But to date, there has been no major disruption to the nation’s electricity supply because of a cyber attack. To showcase the work our members are doing to protect the grid against the range of cyber risks, our June theme will be cybersecurity. Key topics we will tackle in our policy and technology convenings include:
Best Practices for Cyber Protections for the Power Sector
- Does the power sector have adequate tools to assess the risk of cyber security?
- What technologies and best practices are available to protect utility industrial control systems (ICS or OT)?
- What level of cyber risk do Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) present to the grid?
- Are resources (budget and people) properly aligned to mitigate the risk? Are cyber budgets increasing or decreasing?
- How much focus should be on technical solutions vs best practices and workforce cyber competence?
- How can the utility industry attract and train qualified cyber professionals in greater numbers?
- What happens if you get hacked? Do you have a recovery plan?
Evolving Threats for the Power Sector
- What is the federal role in protecting the nation’s distribution systems from cyberattacks?
- Do utilities have enough information about the evolving nature of cyber threats to evaluate their cyber risks?
- Does the electricity sector receive sufficient actionable intelligence from federal partners?
Emerging Trends – Operational Impacts due to Vendor/Third Party Cyber Events
- How are vendors and equipment manufacturers protecting international supply chains?
- How can the industry create a more streamlined information sharing process given many of the vendors are utilized across the Power Sector?
- What is the best way to protect sensitive information handled and stored by third-party vendors?