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Government works to improve smart grid cyber security

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Monday, July 11, 2011

As the U.S. moves to update its rapidly aging critical infrastructures, cyber security measures are sometimes a second thought. However, the government is actively working with utilities to increase smart grid cyber security protocols, according to a published report.

The Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy Blog reports that a number of systems used to protect computer networks from hackers are similarly employed by a number of utilities. Tools like firewalls and antivirus protection systems, however, only provide so much protection as hackers become increasingly brazen in their complex and sophisticated attacks.

The smart grid ultimately controls a number of the nation's important devices, including traffic lights, trains and the actual electric grid. If the nation's smart grid were to suffer an attack, it could have far-reaching consequences, leaving the U.S. exceedingly vulnerable.

As a result, the government has teamed with a number of industry experts to study the potential effect that such attacks would have. It is also working to constantly update and improve upon its cyber security measures, according to the DOE.

Since 2009, the DOE has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to support the Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid (TCIPG), which is a university-based project that aims to improve how critical infrastructures are built and protected. 

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