U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Cyber Security for the Energy Grid

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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory delivers practical, high-impact solutions for energy security challenges while maintaining a reputation for successfully linking with industry, collaborating with other laboratories and providing support for national energy security efforts. PNNL has successfully developed a suite of cyber security tools and training centers and has established partnerships with numerous academic institutions to stay ahead of emerging threats to computer systems and power grid reliability.

The anticipated growth of synchrophasor measurement use in both transmission and distribution environments to provide real-time situational awareness of the health of the electric grid provides interesting data intensive computing challenges. The volume of data a utility must process will grow exponentially as legacy SCADA systems are replaced and data acquisition rates change from samples every two to four seconds to 30 to 60 samples per second.

[edit] Security Control Systems

Control systems were built with reliable operations, not security, in mind. Coupled with the life cycle of control system equipment which may be 20 to 30 years or more, these two characteristics help shape the work of PNNL’s cyber security team, which is working to implement computer security in a way that will not harm the control system. The focus is to develop or migrate technology from the information technology world to the control system world without adversely impacting reliable operations. PNNL works collaboratively with national and international standards bodies, vendors and universities to arrive at better solutions.

PNNL’s Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center (EIOC) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) laboratory measure the impact of vendor security products on control systems communication. The EIOC provides a test environment where impacts of vendor projects can be examined using live data. Results of these impact assessments are suggestions for enhancing and improving vendor products and the potential discovery of new features beneficial to industry. Vulnerability assessments, design reviews and cyber security training are also available for control systems.

Website: http://eioc.pnl.gov

Article Title: Cyber Security for the Energy Grid

Article Added: 2010/09/08

Category(s): Energy, Electricity Infrastructure

Last Update: 13 July 2011 | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory