One third of the 245 reported cyber incidents in industrial control systems that happened in 2014 occurred in the energy sector, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) ICS-CERT Monitor newsletter.
That is why the Cyber Resilient Energy Delivery Consortium (CREDC), a $28.1 million initiative funded by the Department of Energy (DoE), is working to make these energy sector systems more secure and resilient.
Cyber networks provide the framework for important functions within energy delivery systems (EDS), from sending data between a smart meter and utility to controlling the flow of oil or gas in a pipeline. However, they are also vulnerable to disturbances.
By involving industry early and often, CREDC is looking to develop projects that have significant and measurable sector impact. They want to create a pipeline where foundational research will lead to applied research and development, which in turn could result in technology that is effective and affordable and can end up implemented quickly in the field.
CREDC is a successor to two earlier research initiatives focused on EDS resilience, particularly in the area of electric power:
Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid (TCIP) project, a $7.5 million initiative funded in 2005 by the National Science Foundation with support from the Department of Energy and Department of Homeland Security
Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid (TCIPG) project, an $18.4 million initiative launched in 2009 by the DoE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability with support from the DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate’s Cyber Security Division.
This past week, Schneider Electric joined the CREDC, to collaborate with top universities and develop solutions to these issues. Schneider Electric will contribute to research in an effort to advance technological development and inspect aspects of business development to increase resiliency in power delivery.
In 2005, the electricity sector was largely “security-unaware.”
Thanks to those earlier efforts, there has been widespread adoption of security best practices and technology. However, because the landscape continuously evolves, resiliency in a dynamic environment is key. With a broader research scope that includes the oil & gas industry and with support and funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, CREDC is keeping the mission moving forward.