The Dec. 3 incident in which gunfire damaged substations and cut off power to tens of thousands of North Carolina residents is a reminder that threats to critical energy infrastructure are a constant concern.
The risk of cyber and physical attacks, including ones similar to what occurred this weekend, can be mitigated and vulnerabilities can be reduced by having appropriate training, programs and policies in place, and by adhering to NERC standards. Drones, insider threats, copper theft, sabotage, and even terrorism are just a few components of the threat environment that utilities security practitioners must address 24/7.
For these practitioners, it is vital to deploy resources that enable real-time detection and response and to utilize tabletop exercises, penetration testing and audits to manage risk exposure. The use of technology plays a critical role, from the outer perimeter to the most sensitive inner workings – as well as at sites that are separate from the main facility and, thus, have additional vulnerabilities, such as substations.
The SIA Utilities Advisory Board is committed to enhancing infrastructure protection by developing recommendations and best practices and by providing educational programs to industry professionals and utilities security practitioners.
SIA Webinar: Leveraging Technology to Protect Utilities – this free webinar on Dec. 6, 2022, will offer ideas for how to better use current security technology solutions to protect energy infrastructure. The webinar will also be made available in an archive format for post-event viewing.