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Think you're safe from hackers? Think again.

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Friday, April 29, 2011

Recently, Sony suffered what many experts are referring to as the largest data loss ever when its PlayStation network suffered a cyber attack. The result is the potential compromising of nearly 77 million users.

The incident highlights the fact that, no matter how big a company is and no matter how strong certain data protection processes might be, all technology is still prone to cyber attacks.

This threat is becoming increasingly important as the energy sector begins to move toward widespread smart grid adoption. One major detractor that the grid's skeptics point to is its ability to be compromised and its potential vulnerability to attacks.

Thus, cyber security continues to be a major focus for many industries, including the energy sector. Taking cyber security one step further, protecting network infrastructure is key, as access to a company's network can lead to almost any sensitive information.

A recent PC Magazine article discussed several ways to improve cyber security. The first involves password protection, which serves as a strong first wall against potential hackers. Having and enforcing such protection policies in place should be a critical priority, the article states.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), which acts almost as a governing authority for the electrical grid, has actually issued standards for smart grid use in this respect, known as NERC CIP. These require all those in the electric sector to develop risk-based security policies regarding their specific assets, architecture and exposure.

In addition to password protection, PC Magazine recommends further learning about data loss prevention technologies, avoiding hosting sites, locking wireless LANs and increasing protection against designated denial-of-service attacks.

Increasing security focus and enhancing data protection policies can go a long way for industries, and the energy industry, with its mission-critical infrastructure, should be especially vigilant. 

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