Cyber Threats To UK Power Grid Raising Concerns In Energy Industry

News broke that the UK’s energy sector is extremely worried about the risk of potential cyber attacks, such the WannaCry ransomware attack that recently hit the NHS, on the nation’s power stations and electricity grids. Edgard Capdevielle, CEO at Nozomi Networks commented below.

Edgard Capdevielle, CEO at Nozomi Networks:

“Reports that the Energy sector are taking the threat from cyber-attacks seriously is reassuring, but it’s how they actually monitor and respond that is the key.

“While protecting sensitive information is obviously important, and shouldn’t be ignored, the threat to the energy/oil and gas sector is more complex. When you think of how the power grid has evolved, rather than remaining air gapped, connected devices have become an integral part of Operational Technology (OT).

In order to reap the full benefits of connectivity, and the critical infrastructure they sit within, all networks and devices need to be secured. Each connection is a potential entry point and how industrial systems are protected will determine how strong, or weak, it is. It is crucial for organisations to ensure that multiple levels of protection are in place – from securing the network itself to monitoring it in real-time for anomalies that could indicate a cyber threat is present.

“Using advances in computer science, such as machine learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), it’s now possible to model and monitor large, complex industrial control networks and critical physical processes. Doing so establishes normal baselines for network communication and process behaviour so that deviations and anomalies are instantly detected and operators are alerted. This means faster remediation and reaction to threats.”

Having this real-time operational visibility provides immediate insights for faster troubleshooting and remediation of cyber-security and process issues. It makes it easier for engineers and plant operators to identify affected devices and apply compensating controls before power systems are impacted.”

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