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Growing number of utilities improving cyber defense systems as hackers loom

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Wednesday, August 24, 2011

With the one-year anniversary of the Stuxnet worm approaching, a growing number of utilities have begun to aggressively upgrade their smart grid cyber security networks. Power providers fear that critical infrastructure protection (CIP) measures have not been effectively enforced over the years, leaving power supply networks vulnerable to hackers.

According to cyber security experts, the Stuxnet worm, which took out more than 20 percent of Iran's nuclear power computing system, ushered in a new era in the world of cyber warfare.

The Stuxnet's architecture has been publicly available for more than eight months now, according to government officials, and utility companies are working to enhance their smart grid cyber security protocols as they work to prevent hackers from tapping into sensitive data.

Cyber security companies have reported a precipitous rise in the number of utilities looking to strengthen their cyber defense networks, underscoring the fear among IT professionals regarding the threat of cyber infiltrations.

"Executives in critical infrastructure organizations and the manufacturers of smart meters and smart appliances need to recognize the magnitude of the risk they and their customers are exposed to, and allocate the budget and resources to build IT security into their products and offerings," affirmed Chris Poulin, the chief security officer at Q1 Labs, a cyber defense company.

 

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