By Brian Prince
Reports that the U.S. electric grid was penetrated by foreign spies may
on the surface seem shocking. But as Brightfly Managing Director of
Research Brandon Dunlap knows, attempts at cracking the networks of U.S.
utilities are not new. Brightfly is a consulting company specializing in
advising on security and governance, risk and compliance.
"While I was running the information protection program at Constellation
Energy, we expanded our sensor network dramatically, on the order of 800
percent, allowing us to get very granular and expansive information
about malicious activity," Dunlap recalled. "What struck us almost
immediately was the sheer volume of activity originating from well
beyond our national borders. Many of these events were coming from
foreign universities and large corporations."
As lawmakers decide how best to improve U.S. cyber-security, Dunlap
noted cultural issues at play within the utilities industry that affect
its security posture and extend beyond the reach of government
"Over the past few years, I have had the privilege to speak with
numerous utilities across the U.S. and I have found that most NERC
[North American Electric Reliability Corporation] CIP [Critical
Infrastructure Protection] efforts seem to be driven from the plants and
wires sides of their businesses," Dunlap explained.
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