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Power System Protection in the Age of Cyber Attacks

Let’s face it; humanity has such a reliance on electricity that prolonged disruptions would bring life to a standstill. Every aspect of our daily lives is powered by electricity: our water supply, national defence systems, communication, transport and even our financial systems.

Unfortunately, hackers and cyber terrorists are aware of this and occasionally chose to challenge the cyber connectivity that ensures consistency in the power supply. Luckily, a few measures can successfully deter such attacks. Such measures include the following.

Integrated IT/OT tactics

Hackers gain access to operating systems by using malicious codes to take advantage of security vulnerabilities. The weakest link in such systems is the people behind the machines. One could install such malware by merely opening an email.

IT focuses on the collection of data. OT systems, on the other hand, consist of physical components that respond to the data supplied to them. An integrated approach to securing both systems ensures that hackers can’t gain access to both systems by attacking the IT systems.

Constant Conformity Tests

Hackers will always try out new tricks to challenge power systems and their protective measures. So, there needs to be a consistent holistic approach based on such risks. Such a strategy starts by identifying any internal vulnerabilities.

Such an approach is that it sets high standards and combines them with constant testing to ensure higher levels of certification. This works better than merely treating each area as a distinct component. We can say that it leads to a more optimised level of cybersecurity.

A Secure By Design Approach

The best way to address the threats posed by hackers is to make power grids harder to exploit. This could be in the form of better levels of encryption between IT and OT systems. It also identifies potential vulnerabilities and sets workable standards across the entire system. A pervasive approach to monitoring power protective systems is also essential to such an approach.