Smart grids: cyber-security, the biggest challenge?
As the 14th PwC Global Power & Utilities Survey underlines, 75% of senior power and utility company executives in 70 companies and 52 different countries now express concerns about cyber-attacks on facilities. The protection of industrial information systems is becoming a major issue for European Member States and the operators that manage their vital resources in the field of energy, but also for transport, water and medical activities.
In traditional industrial control systems and critical infrastructures, security was implicitly assumed by the reliance on proprietary technologies (security by obscurity), physical access protection and disconnection from the internet.
The massive move in the last decade towards open standards and IP connectivity, the growing integration of Internet of Things technologies (technologies embedded in a network of physical objects that enables them to collect and exchange data), and the disruptiveness of targeted cyber-attacks, calls for new cyber-security solutions.
The Scissor Project, led by a European consortium of nine partners*, aims to develop a portfolio of security solutions to protect industrial systems from cyber-attacks. The safety data collected in the system and its environment from probes, sensors and cameras are processed on a SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) platform. Thanks to this SIEM supervision, intrusions can be detected and alerts published about the imminent arrival of an incident.
By taking a holistic approach, Scissor designs a new generation of SCADA security monitoring framework, comprising four layers:
- a monitoring layer supporting traffic probes providing programmable traffic analysis up to layer 7, new ultra low cost/energy pervasive sensing technologies, system and software integrity verification, and smart camera surveillance solutions for automatic detection and object classification
- a control and coordination layer adaptively orchestrating remote probes/ sensors, providing a uniform representation of monitoring data gathered from heterogeneous sources, and enforcing cryptographic data protection, including certificate-less identity/attribute-based encryption scheme
- a decision and analysis layer in the form of the SIEM fed by both highly heterogeneous monitoring events as well as the native control process signals, and supporting advanced correlation and detection methodologies
- a human-machine layer devised to present in real time the system behavior to the human end user in a simple and usable manner. Scissor’s framework will leverage easy-to-deploy cloud-based development and integration, and will be designed with resilience and reliability in mind (no single point of failure).
Scissor will be assessed via an off-field SCADA platform, to highlight its ability to detect and thwart targeted threats, and an on-field, real world deployment within a running operational smart grid, to showcase usability, viability and deployability.
As part of the European Union Horizon 2020 programme, four million euros have been allocated to the Scissor project, which will last 3 years. It will be tested full-scale on an intelligent electricity grid installed by the company SEA on the Italian island of Favignana.
To find out more about the Scissor Project, click here
* Assystem, AGH, University Pierre andMarie Curie, SIXSQ, CNIT, RADIO6ENSE, Salzburg Research, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and SEA