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TVA expert to give presentation on new cybersecurity developments at DistribuTECH 2012

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Monday, November 28, 2011

At the 2012 DitribuTECH Conference and Exhibition, John Stewart of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has been slated to speak on developments in cybersecurity concerning smart grid deployment and how solutions from SUBNET Solutions Inc. were utilized. The presentation will cover various recent activities and the technology that is powering them.

The conference, which will take place from January 24-26, 2012, in San Antonio, Texas, is regarded as the leading smart grid event, and attracts industry leaders, experts and utilities from across the country.

At the 2011 DistribuTECH conference, the amount of security companies that were reorganizing their business model to cater to the growing demand for appliance security ranked as one of the 10 most important trends identified at the event, according to GigaOm.

The conference uncovered that many telecommunications companies had shifted to developing a combined product of home energy and security for appliance control. Control4, a start-up looking to break into the cybersecurity market, announced it had started working with utility NV Energy on security issues.

The presentation, titled "Cybersecurity Development Activities," will discuss how regulatory pressures and more awareness of cybersecurity has led logical substation access control to become a critical issue for TVA's transmission organization.

Stewart will cover the specific technical requirements that relays, RTUs and other embedded devices present, as well as potential solutions that have been developed. In order to keep up compliance without sacrificing reliability, TVA found that an alternative path could be taken to embark on two distinct approaches to comply with NERC CIP logical access requirements.

"One approach is designed around a centralized authentication process to minimize complexity, while the other relies on a more distributed architecture to push authentication closer to the protected device," Stewart wrote of the solutions that will be discussed.

Although the two solutions have their differences, both are dependent on the underlying trust management framework. With both being developed with interoperable interfaces in mind, the integration of the systems remained similar. Presentation attendees will learn how TVA developed, deployed and tested the solutions, as well as the possible future of substation IED access control.

Speaker John W. Stewart is a specialist engineer in the Architecture group of Power Control Systems organization at the TVA. The presentation will be moderated by SUBNET's president Ameen Hamdon.  

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The Complexities of Substation Cyber Security

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