Siemens advises the energy industry on cyberattacks
In an era of increasing reliance on the digital world, companies in the energy sector must be more vigilant than ever regarding cybersecurity.
To address this issue, German multinational industrial manufacturing company Siemens has produced an online guide to assist corporations’ comprehension of what a cyberattack consists of and how to prevent one.
Citing research from Poneman Institute, Siemens considers the risks posed towards utility companies in particular far more damaging than other companies: whilst the latter may only compromise financial information, the former could jeopardise the operation of vital services.
No matter how adequately an energy company deals with a cyberthreat after it has already infiltrated the business, there is no denying that the best offence is a solid and thorough defence.
“Strong cybersecurity IR (incident response) begins before an incident occurs and
continues long after normal operations have been restored,” says Siemens.
Therefore, the company recommends following carefully arranged ‘steps’ which are interlinked and form a self-perpetuating cycle:
Preparation: Energy companies should allocate specific teams and job roles for staff trained to handle cyberthreats, who should then prepare a methodical response programme which can be easily deployed when needed.
Identification: Familiarity with a system during normal operations will help to recognise abnormalities faster.
Containment: Once an incident has been identified, the next course of action is to isolate the spread of ‘infection’ and prevent the compromisation of multiple systems. This can be difficult for energy companies, which emphasises the importance of planning.
Eradication: Forensic teams must get rid of the threat with a view to restoring normal operations as soon as possible. Backing up essential operations should be given paramount importance.
Recovery: Following the elimination of the cyberthreat, energy companies should restore critical functions and perform system integrity checks. Evidence should also be collected on the nature of the threat and how it was dealt with.
Lessons learned: After normal service has been restored, all evidence and documentation associated with the attack should be compiled and analysed in order to inform any subsequent changes that need to be made.
“In the same way that the physical safety of a plant depends on many people understanding their roles and responsibilities to ensure the availability and safety of operations, cybersecurity is a collective undertaking,” Siemens says.
“Teams that have built and practised an IR playbook in advance of a breach will perform better than teams forced to improvise every time.”
For more information on energy digital topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Energy Digital Magazine.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.