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Utilities increasingly focus on cyber security measures

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Thursday, September 08, 2011

The 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks is quickly approaching, and its imminent arrival is prompting U.S. officials to reassess policies aimed at protecting the nation. Have utilities successfully implemented smart grid cyber security measures over the past decade?

The development of the country's critical infrastructure is a matter of national importance, President Obama has said, and though smart grid upgrades will ultimately result in the improved energy efficiency of the electric grid, some power providers are failing to adopt government-mandated standards, according to a report from Discovery News.

Andy Bochman, an energy security lead at IBM's Rational Division, told the news provider that U.S.-based utilities are lagging behind in their adoption of critical infrastructure protections (CIP). Still, Bochman contends many utilities are working to improve cyber security safeguards, especially in the wake of the Stuxnet worm, responsible for the destruction of more than 20 percent of the computers running Iran's internationally-condemned nuclear power program.

Nevertheless, hackers thought to be based in China and Russia, among other nations, successfully infiltrated the U.S. electric grid in 2009, leaving behind software that could be used to inflict damage, The Wall Street Journal previously reported. With such attacks becoming more deliberate, experts assert utilities must implement technologies equipped with the latest in cyber security software.

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