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Wurldtech Gears Up to Help Secure Smart Grid
Global Industrial Cyber Security Leader Launches Multi-Faceted Effort to Improve the Security and Robustness of Smart Grid Technology
Vancouver, BC, Canada — July 09, 2009 — In an announcement today, Wurldtech™ Security Technologies, a leading provider of industrial cyber security testing and certification solutions for critical infrastructure industries, revealed a detailed strategic initiative designed to help improve the security of the Smart Grid.
The effort includes; the addition of wireless communication capabilities into the award-winning Achilles™ Satellite security & robustness testing platform to diagnose and remediate vulnerabilities in Smart Grid technology; the expansion of the Achilles™ cyber security certification program to include resilience benchmarks for smart grid devices and applications; and the creation of the world’s first cyber security research institute and global center of excellence for energy infrastructure protection with particular short-term focus on Smart Grid issues.
“The Smart Grid is critical to our sustainable energy future,” Tyler Williams, CEO of Wurldtech said, “but the bulk power industry has had little necessity for cyber security in the past because critical control networks were isolated from the litany of IT threats that could jeopardize process integrity and reliability. The advantages of Smart Grid however, require increased connectivity, including a reliance on the internet, and if we don’t move quickly to make functional security an integral part of the Smart Grid initiatives, we may find ourselves in the unfavourable position of attempting to fix the car while driving at full speed.”
Standardized Cyber Security & Robustness Testing For Smart Grid Technology Suppliers
The Achilles Satellite is a unique stand-alone platform designed to allow equipment manufacturers of all sizes to conduct standardized cyber security and robustness testing to identify vulnerabilities in IP-enabled computers systems before their deployed in critical infrastructure networks. In fact today, the Achilles testing technology is relied upon by almost all major global automation vendors and has made enormous improvements in both the reliability and resilience of the computer systems that operate critical infrastructure around the world.
By adding additional capabilities to the Achilles platform, enabling security testing over common smart grid protocols such as IEC 61850/870, and the new wireless protocols based on 802.11 and 802.15.4 (WirelessHART, ISA100.11a and Zigbee), suppliers of smart grid devices and applications can benefit from the same advantages previously reserved for the traditional SCADA and control system vendors.
“There is no reason why any device, system or software application that is found on a critical control network should be deployed without going through rigorous security and robustness testing with technologies like Achilles” said Greg Garcia, former Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “Having the required subject matter expertise, the proven technology to identify and diagnose vulnerabilities, and the infrastructure to categorize threats and proactively distribute effective mitigations, Wurldtech’s solutions will provide the functional security core that the Smart Grid initiatives need.”
Cyber Security Certification for Smart Meters & Advanced Metering infrastructure
As current Smart Grid standards initiatives get under way by organizations like NIST and major government attention at the congressional level increases, Wurldtech, sees standards and certification of as a major opportunity to improve the resiliency of smart grid infrastructure, if done right.
Williams said, “Consensus-based standards efforts by definition take a long time, and we are fooling ourselves by expecting to have meaningful security and interoperability standards out for the Smart Grid in the timeframe’s being considered - especially if we seek heterogeneity, scalability and broad-based stakeholder cooperation. Unfortunately, many also see regulation and public sector involvement as the answer and do not realize that the 800lbs gorilla in the room may in fact do more harm than good.”
In 2007, Wurldtech launched the Achilles industrial cyber security certification program with the backing of major energy stakeholders such as BP, Total and Shell and has now certified control systems from the world’s largest automation manufacturers.
Williams’ continues “The good news though is that we have seen this movie before in the oil and gas industry and what it took was a private sector effort to set the benchmark first; establish the vision, build the business model, delivery mechanisms, and appropriate supportive technologies so the standards community can set realistic objectives to raise the bar intelligently over time. In other words, what we have accomplished for the control system domain with our Achilles certification program we can easily replicate for smart meter and advanced metering infrastructure with a standardized approach that vendors and operators can easily and cost-effectively implement today.
“The Achilles certification program is clearly the defacto cyber security standard for critical infrastructure sectors and is already adopted by the world’s largest suppliers and end-users of industrial control and safety systems.” Garcia adds “The expansion of the program to include smart grid devices and applications will provide an effective roadmap for emerging standards as they evolve over the next few years.”
Wurldtech hopes to announce the first Achilles Certified Smart Meter next month and is actively encouraging electric utility end-users to follow the stewardship of the oil and gas sector and mandate their suppliers achieve Achilles certification.
A Global Center of Excellence and Cyber Security Research Institute For Energy Infrastructure Protection
Williams made it very clear. “These initiatives alone will not provide the layers of functional security necessary to protect the Smart Grid from intrusion and/or accidental disruption. We have been working tirelessly over the past 8 months with numerous energy industry end-users on an exciting new initiative and are extremely pleased to announce today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Wurldtech and The University of British Columbia (UBC) that provides the framework to create the world’s first Cyber Security Research Institute and Global Center of Excellence for energy infrastructure protection aimed at promoting global standards and functional cyber security consciousness in the energy sector.”
Funded directly by leading energy companies, government agencies and other industry stakeholders, the Center of Excellence will consist of three distinct components:
• A Cyber Security Testing & Certification Test Bed and Demonstration Center: a multi-million dollar test bed designed to replicate high-availability control networks and advanced metering infrastructure is currently being constructed to support the on-going analysis of Smart Grid and control system infrastructure, for security, safety and interoperability issues.
• An International Applied Cyber Security Research & Assessment Team: A centrally managed, but distributed, multi-disciplinary team of cyber security subject matter experts, private sector and academic researchers has been formed to conduct both applied research and consulting services based on roadmap requirements directly from end-users.
• A Web-based Knowledge Portal: This information coordination center will provide symmetric information without restriction to qualified users. This portal will act as the conduit for workplace cyber security training and education as well as online certification and training courses covering the emerging functional security issues in the critical infrastructure industries and the Smart Grid.
“Wurldtech is responsible for yet another game-changer,” says Ted Angevaare, Shell Global Solutions’ global manager of process control security and architecture, “A focused private-sector effort with activities directed by end-users and managed by an organization with clearly demonstrated industry stewardship, subject matter expertise, and an understanding of the issues and fundamental needs of the industry – this is a recipe for success. Shell is proud to be amongst the many supporters of this effort and we look forward to contributing our expertise to the combined knowledge base so that the entire community can benefit.”
Further announcements regarding the Center of Excellence will be made in the coming weeks. www.wurldtech.com
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