Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

Feds Seek Stronger Security For Power Grid

Departments of Energy and Defense will create a cybersecurity model to test and apply across the utility industry, as they work to protect the U.S. electricity grid.

Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DHS) have teamed up to create a cybersecurity model that can be tested and applied across the utility industry to provide insight into how to better protect the U.S. electricity grid.

The Electric Sector Cybersecurity Risk Management Maturity Model pilot project aims to work with experts in both the public and private sector to use existing cybersecurity strategies to develop a so-called "maturity model" that can identify how secure the electricity grid currently is from cyber threats, according to a White House blog post by White House cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt. It will then test that model with participating utility companies to see how well it works, he said.

Maturity models use best practices to identify strengths and weaknesses in an organization or system, and are used by industry sectors to improve performance, efficiency, and quality.

"Gaining knowledge about strengths and remaining gaps across the grid will better inform investment planning and research and development, and enhance our public-private partnership efforts," Schmidt said.

[ For more background on U.S. cybersecurity, see White House Sets Cybersecurity R&D Priorities. ]

The DOE is taking the lead on the project, with help from the DHS. Over the next few months, the DOE will host workshops with the private sector to draft a maturity model for the electricity industry. That model will be tested across the more than a dozen electric utilities and grid operators that are expected to participate in the pilot program, and a risk-management model will be released to the electricity sector later this summer.

The Obama administration has put a particular focus on protecting the electricity grid and other control systems from a persistent and growing cybersecurity threat, and patterning with the private companies that control that sector has been key to the effort.

Indeed, if viruses such as the Stuxnet and Duqu are any indication, hackers now are designing threats to explicitly attack control systems, which has not only the feds but other government leaders around the world on alert about how to protect these critical systems.

The new DOE-DHS project itself grew out of previous work federal officials have done to examine the threat to the electricity grid. Cybersecurity is one of four key themes of the administration's Policy Framework for a 21st Century Grid, released last June. Two months later, the DOE released the 2011 Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cybersecurity, an update to a similar document produced in 2006. The earlier document outlined a strategic framework to be implemented over the next decade to create and operate a resilient energy system that can recover in the case of a major cyber incident.

InformationWeek is conducting our third annual State of Enterprise Storage survey on data management technologies and strategies. Upon completion, you will be eligible to enter a drawing to receive an Apple 32-GB iPod Touch. Take our Enterprise Storage Survey now. Survey ends Jan. 13.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Firms Improve Threat Detection but Face Increasingly Disruptive Attacks
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/20/2020
Ransomware Damage Hit $11.5B in 2019
Dark Reading Staff 2/20/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-18238
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-26
Moxa ioLogik 2542-HSPA Series Controllers and IOs, and IOxpress Configuration Utility ioLogik 2500 series firmware, Version 3.0 or lower IOxpress configuration utility, Version 2.3.0 or lower. Sensitive information is stored in configuration files without encryption, which may allow an attacker to a...
CVE-2019-17274
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-26
NetApp FAS 8300/8700 and AFF A400 Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) firmware versions 13.x prior to 13.1P1 were shipped with a default account enabled that could allow unauthorized arbitrary command execution via local access.
CVE-2019-17275
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-26
OnCommand Cloud Manager versions prior to 3.8.0 are susceptible to arbitrary code execution by remote attackers.
CVE-2020-3169
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-26
A vulnerability in the CLI of Cisco FXOS Software could allow an authenticated, local attacker to execute arbitrary commands on the underlying Linux operating system with a privilege level of root on an affected device. The vulnerability is due to insufficient validation of arguments passed to a spe...
CVE-2020-3170
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-26
A vulnerability in the NX-API feature of Cisco NX-OS Software could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to cause an NX-API system process to unexpectedly restart. The vulnerability is due to incorrect validation of the HTTP header of a request that is sent to the NX-API. An attacker could expl...