Top Cyber Security Experts Meet for Smart Grid Security Summit

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Larry Karisny


I have spent the last few days moderating and recording for "The Smart Grid Security Virtual Summit", which will be webcasted on August 9th, and where you can get the real scoop on the past, the present and the future of smart grid security.

The list of speakers includes a who’s who list of top industry experts that will offer their opinions on how to correct the the real issues related to securing the power grid. 

From what we have done to what we need to do, the summit pre-recorded sessions are real eye openers disclosing problems and giving the answers to critically needed smart grid and critical infrastructure security.

I moderated the panel discussion "Smart Grid Security, Past, Present and Future" which include industry professionals I have previously interview for Digital Communities.  Bob Lockhart lead the session discussion and has followed smart grid security from the very beginning. 

Mr. Lockhart is a senior research analyst contributing to Pike Research’s Smart Grid practice, with a focus on cyber security markets. Bob has co-authored and white paper with Research Director Bob Gohn on the Seven Trends to Watch in Utility Cyber Security.  From market projections for this new multi-billion cyber security business to the current state of near chaos in securing the power grid, Bob's pre-recorded discussion was packed with reality checks of where we are and where we need to be in security the grid. 

The panel discussion continued with outspoken industry leader Patrick Miller who views the need for cyber security from both the public and private sector side.  Mr. Miller is President and CEO, EnergySec and Principal Investigator of National Electric Sector Cybersecurity Organization (NESCO), public-private partnership between the US Department of Energy and EnergySec to enhance cybersecurity in the electric sector. 

Patrick's echoed Bob ‘s comments in less talk and more action in addressing these security breach concerns.  With a diverse background in the energy sector, Patrick discussed what he sees with his birds eye view of power grid security.   II got straight experienced answers from Mr. Miller just as I received from him in a May interview  this year.

Ending the panel discussion was Ted Wood, Director at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox.  Mr. Wood's job, at D.C.-based Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox, is the discovery and protection of intellectual property in things like smart-grid security. From international cyber security espionage to plain old American ingenuity, Mr. Wood offered a unique view to the realities of cybersecurity.

Ted leads the firm's Grid Industry Group, where he focuses on helping innovators involved with ensuring power grid resiliency in an evolving smart grid infrastructure.  His discussion focused on how small business ingenuity can protect their intellectual property while fast tracking their creative solutions through the bureaucracies of big business and big government. Ted presentation was a big step in addressing how we can get there and quickly.   

I spoke in the second panel discussion, Is Current Legacy IPS And IDS Security Enough For The Smart Grid And Critical Infrastructure?.  My presentation focused on how current security solutions may not be too costly, too complex and too inefficient for critical infrastructure requirements. 

From securing Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) that now must securely encrypt the new end point of nano sensors chip sets to Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) that must now be able to view real time event anomalies and business processes, this discussion showed the need for security technology change.

The subject of why we need to look at smart grid security differently was first discussed in my recent article, Smart-Grid Security Will Force New Ways of Thinking. This presentation expanded on this article and discuss proof points of why new security solutions are required for smart grid and critical infrastructure security. 

The second session speaker was Phil Smith, Founder and President of TLC Secure who has had a long and illustrious career with senior technical and managerial roles at HP, Cisco, NASA, Lawrence Livermore National Lab and many other positions. He is the innovator, architect and developer of several implementations of mobile devices as well as the cryptographic libraries and identity management components.

Mr. Smith has worked with critical infrastructure encryption security used in wireless sensors in atomic power plants and Department of Defence applications.  His time tested applications of Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) security showed how true end to end security can be achieved for the smart grid.   

The last prerecorded panelist, Rajeev Bhargava, is CEO of Decison-Zone and an expert in the information management field that has architected, developed and built next-generation cyber security, risk, fraud, and privacy solutions. In 2010, inventor Rajeev Bhargava received a US Patent (#7908160) for the world’s only technology capable of 100% fraud and system security protection.

Mr. Bhargava discussed a completely new way of addressing Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) security through the prediction, detection and correction of event anomalies in real time business processes.  This discussion revealed why current IDS solutions are not enough for smart grid system security.  

Additional session discussions included Identifying and Mitigating Cyber and Physical Threats to Smart Grid SCADA Systems, William Lawrence, Chief Technologist; Energy & Cyber Security Lockheed Martin; A Utility Perspective on Smart Grid Security Status and Challenges, Ward Pyles, Senior Security Analyst, Southern Company; Regulators' Role in Smart Grid Security: What They Want to Know, Alan Rivaldo, Cyber Security Analyst, Public Utility Commission of Texas; Recent TVA Experiences and Insight on Smart Grid Cyber Security, John Stewart, Specialist Engineer, Power Control Systems, Tennessee Valley Authority and Security Issues Surrounding Cloud Computing and Big Data in the Smart Grid, William Souza, Manager - Security Integration, Reliability Services Division, PJM Interconnection. 

The conference will be web broadcasted next  week Thursday 9 am to 5 pm EST. This is a real best of the best security summit that you won’t want to miss it and can be viewed and heard from the convenience of your own computer.  

Larry Karisny is the director of Project, a smart-grid security consultant, writer and industry speaker focusing on security solutions for the smart grid and critical infrastructure.

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