Infrastructure Protection

PROTECTion for U.S. power grid

Draft legislation which would fund measures to secure the U.S. electrical grid have been endorsed by a Senate committee. The Protecting Resources on the Electric Grid with Cybersecurity Technology (PROTECT) Act would underwrite small utilities’ improvements to their protection against cyberattacks as well as provide technical help in detecting, responding to and recovering from attacks. [node:read-more:link]

Hybrid warfare in the marine domain

The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, of which Canada is a member, says developments in and around the Sea of Azov and the Strait of Hormuz this year have demonstrated how marine security measures and the disturbance of shipping may have immediate and/or long-term effects on the global economy. Moreover, it points out, the fact that most critical infrastructure is privately-owned makes it difficult for governments to prepare for threats. [node:read-more:link]

Protecting critical infrastructure

The University of Maryland and the University of Central Florida have emerged as the top teams during a Department of Energy competition designed to improve its ability to protect critical infrastructure against cyberattacks. A total of 105 college teams participated in the fifth CyberForce Competition held at 10 of the department’s national laboratories Nov. 16. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. firm in legal trouble

Aventura Technologies Inc. of Long Island, N.Y., is alleged to have sold some $20 million in Chinese surveillance and other sensitive security equipment to U.S. customers after claiming they were manufactured in the U.S. Its customers included the Defense and Energy departments. U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said the situation, which has led to a criminal complaint, raises “a grave concern” about cybersecurity. [node:read-more:link]

Huawei cameras defended

The installation of hundreds of cameras with facial recognition capability in Belgrade, part of a local government surveillance program, apparently is causing potential protesters to reconsider their participation in anti-government demonstrations in the Serbian capital. However, despite criticism about eroded personal freedoms and even snooping by China, officials say the system designed by Huawei is helping to reduced crime. [node:read-more:link]

Energy grid cybershield

U.S. Cyber Command is working with the Department of Energy and industry on a more coherent approach to cyberattacks. A philosophy of “persistent engagement” is predicated on the notion of constant contact with potential enemies in cyberspace and officials have stressed this includes enabling other partners. It also includes using its unique authorities to operate outside U.S. networks as a way to provide warning for domestic agencies about potential threats. [node:read-more:link]

Power grid protection

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is asking for technical advice on how to secure Internet-connected devices attached to the U.S. electricity grid. It is soliciting products and proposals as a prelude to having suppliers demonstrate them for the energy sector. The principal concern is securing the flow of data from distributed energy resources such as wind farms, which are becoming increasingly common in the shift to renewables. [node:read-more:link]

The ransomeware conundrum

A lack of universal standards means that local governments apparently are trying to cope with an increasing flow of “ransomware” on their computer systems. That suggests that as insurers opt to pay these ransom demands, they effectively make local governments a more appealing target. [node:read-more:link]

Bigger European fleet sought

Adm. James Foggo, the U.S. commander of Naval Forces Europe, says he needs more ships to provide presence, training and crisis response capability in his area of responsibility. He says there have been more Russian surface vessels, submarines and aircraft in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans and the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean seas even as political tensions increase. The U.S. 6th Fleet within NFE has four destroyers, two fast transports and a command ship. [node:read-more:link]

Russia seizing opportunity

Within hours of last month’s twin attacks on Saudi Arabian petroleum facilities, the Russian state arms exporter said it would hold talks with Middle East countries about procuring anti-drone weapons, a market dominated by the U.S. President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states next month.  [node:read-more:link]

Antarctica sheds huge berg

The Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica has calved its largest iceberg in more than 50 years, a 1,636km 2 block which must be monitored as a potential hazard for shipping in the South Atlantic. The third largest ice shelf on the continent, Amery is a key drainage channel. [node:read-more:link]

Upgraded power grid protection

A bill designed to establish an advisory group of public and private sector representatives, tasked with supporting federal efforts to improve protection of the U.S. electricity grid against cyber attacks, has been approved by the House of Representatives homeland committee. One of several such measures before Congress, it would rotate membership of the proposed advisory group every two years. [node:read-more:link]

Energy grid vulnerable

The U.S. government and “other relevant stakeholders” are being advised by the Government Accountability Office to develop a plan for implementing the federal cybersecurity strategy for the country’s electricity grid, which the GAO says is becoming more vulnerable to cyberattack. Noting that industrial control systems are particularly at risk, it warns that recent assessments indicate attacks could cause widespread power outages. [node:read-more:link]


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