Today, the U.S. Department of Energy announced it’s making $25 million in grants available for projects that pursue new approaches to making the energy sector more resilient to cyber-attacks.

These cybersecurity enhancements come in the wake of the recent web attacks that temporarily shut down computer communications within several U.S. pipeline operators.

Less than a month ago, four of the nation’s largest natural gas pipeline operators were forced to shut down computer communications with their customers as a result of an attack against Latitude Technologies, a Texas-based provider of electronic data sharing between pipeline companies and their gas producer and utility customers.

Now the agency is looking for applications to conduct research, development, and demonstration for innovative approaches to advance cyber resilient energy systems to avoid instances like that from ever happening again. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry claims, “Energy cybersecurity is a national priority that demands the next wave of advanced technologies to create more secure and resilient systems needed for America’s future prosperity, vitality, and energy independence.”

The agency is focusing on 5 key areas:

  • Redesign for Cyber-resilient Architecture – Electric and Oil and Natural Gas (ONG) Subsectors
  • Cybersecurity for the ONG Environment
  • Cybersecure Communications
  • Cybersecure Cloud-based Technologies in the Operation Technology (OT) Environment
  • Innovative Technologies that Enhance Cybersecurity in the Energy Sector

Attacks on the nations energy systems posses a huge safety risk to the country and could result in explosions, spills, and fires. 

NNT suggests following the NERC CIP Compliance Standard at a minimum to improve your cybersecurity hygiene. 

The due date for submitting an application is June 18, 2018.

 

Read the announcement on Energy.gov

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