With economic sanctions being levied by the US against Iran and a trade war heating up with China, some security experts are cautioning that attacks targeting US critical infrastructure may be inevitable. Are electric utilities prepared to defend themselves and their facilities against these attacks?
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) has developed a new set of cybersecurity standards designed to help power and utility (P&U) companies limit their exposure to third-party cyber risks and preserve the reliability of bulk electric systems (BES).
For years, it has been widely-known that the Utilities industry has struggled with cyber security in relation to other industries. In 2014, Unisys and the Ponemon Institute found that 70% of Utility companies surveyed around the world had been breached. The vast majority of breaches are often not reported publicly- or even worse, they aren’t discovered at all. However, breaches for Utility companies are a big problem: beyond safeguarding critical infrastructure, these companies often hold a large amount of customer data.