Are new technologies and the transitional state of the power grid threatening the long-term stability of energy distribution?

In this video:

In 1986, the distinctive voice of Thomas Bodett, spokesman for Motel 6, gave life to the now well-known lines “we’ll leave the light on for you.” Today, cyber-attacks may make this simple task a lot more difficult.

Just what is the state of the power grid when it comes to cyber-attacks? IBM’s Bob Stasio talks with Security Mentor Chief Strategist and CSO Dan Lohrmann, Milsoft Utility Solutions Vice President Steve Collier, and Center for Digital Government Senior Fellow Morgan Wright about the protection pain points for utility grids.

Morgan starts off by discussing the cascade effect that occurs when a power grid is compromised.

Dan explains what technology factors have led to the power grid becoming more vulnerable, including how IoT and devices (through smart homes, cities, and meters) have increased the attack surface of the grid.

Steve sees the situation as being between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the electric grid – he notes that the number of outages is increasing by 50 to 100 percent each year due to the traditional centralized grid’s deterioration. One of the solutions to this problem is to better instrument the grid with automation and remote control, to become more decentralized (as the grid is currently evolving), but more access and automation means more potential attack points.

Bob outlines a Shamoon spear-phishing attack on an energy company to illustrate how industries that were in existence before distributed networking may face difficult challenges as they join the digital world. Morgan notes that one factor exacerbating the problem Bob mentioned is that many different types of systems are being connected together than were not designed with that capability, adding more layers of complexity to the bigger security picture.

There’s still more gems to mine from this video.

Thanks to Bob Stasio and Cyber Beat Live for this replay.

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