Panel talks cyber security on the grid

From left: Brian Ahern, Shawn Henry, and Maureen Borkowski at the Automation & Power World 2013 cyber security panel

Three industry experts joined a panel to discuss cyber security challenges on the grid at Automation & Power World 2013.

Three industry experts joined a panel to discuss cyber security challenges when adopting new smart grid technologies at Automation & Power World 2013. The participants were Maureen Borkowski, President and CEO of Ameren Transmission, Shawn Henry, Former FBI Executive Assistant Director and President of CrowdStrike Services, and Brian Ahern, President and CEO of Industrial Defender.

The smart grid can amplify the challenges posed by cyber security threats, which come in various forms from anywhere around the world, due to more possible points of attack or entrance. Collecting data broadly across the industry – aggregate data often has more clues about an attacker than does data from a single utility – remains a challenge, as does engaging government agencies to take action on the intelligence. Beyond the attack, utilities and end-users should also focus on resilience, a concept Borkowski describes as how fast the network can return to normal and how well it can withstand multiple contingencies.

The panel agreed that solving these challenges isn’t easy, but there are clear paths to take today. According to Ahern, vendors have the responsibility to add security measures at the product level, as ABB does with many of its latest power products. Additionally, utilities are responsible for designing protected systems with many layers of security using the right products. Governments are responsible to help identify and mitigate threats through broad-industry intelligence sharing. Coordination and speed of data sharing remains an opportunity for innovation within the private sector.


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About the author

Matthew Young

I joined ABB in 2013 to lead internal communications for U.S. employees. Prior to ABB, I managed communications in the health care, apparel, manufacturing, and food & beverage industries, doing so once from Mount Everest base camp. At ABB, I'm responsible for engaging employees, developing great content, and building internal communications systems.
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