The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Siemens Energy have announced a new collaboration to develop an industrial cybersecurity Centre of Excellence. It is believed to be the first of its kind. It will be an industrial cybersecurity monitoring, research and innovation centre focusing on detecting and defending against cyber attacks on critical infrastructure owned and operated by NYPA, the largest state-owned electric utility in the USA.
“As we digitise every aspect of our generation and transmission operations, we need to be sure that our cybersecurity programme is ironclad,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA President and CEO. “This venture with Siemens enables the parties to bring their best thinking and experience to the table as we together test and develop state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions that meet our requirements and protect our assets now and well into the future.”
As part of the effort, NYPA’s Advanced Grid Laboratory for Energy (AGILe) and Siemens will identify gaps in market ready solutions and establish test bed and demonstration pilots using Siemens technologies and processes, in both laboratory and real-world settings. The latest announcement is the first step in bringing together a coalition of public sector, private industry and academic partnerships that will build core capabilities needed to identify new and existing cyber threats, adopt new technologies to protect digital infrastructure and close the industry’s talent-gap. Successful solutions have the potential to be deployed and commercialised at other public and private organizations that operate critical infrastructure systems in the state of New York and beyond.
A joint study conducted by the Ponemon Institute and Siemens Energy, that surveyed global energy industry executives on a wide range of threats, vulnerabilities, and strategies required to protect oil and gas assets found strong consensus that the threat of cyber attacks targeting critical infrastructure is worsening. 67 % of respondents believe the risk level to industrial control systems over the past few years has substantially increased because of cyber threats. Meanwhile, 61 % of respondents said their organisation’s industrial control systems protection and security was not adequate. The Centre for Excellence will tackle these problems and put forth tested solutions that will help secure not only NYPA, but similar utilities.
Operational technology assets in the field today are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks as much of the energy industry’s critical infrastructure was engineered before the widespread digitisation of industrial control systems. The Centre will take digitisation into account and research and development of new systems will address the digital systems that now are becoming more commonplace in the industry.