Smart grids

Protecting smart grids with cyber security solutions

Protecting smart grids with cyber security solutions

AFRY is helping one of Sweden's leading electricity network companies to transform their old infrastructure into a cyber-secure future

Cyber-attacks on the Swedish energy systems will most likely increase in the future. The attacks are becoming more complex, advanced and probably increasingly focused on specific industries such as energy and electricity network companies.

Around the world, electricity networks are being renewed to “smart” grids and will change the way we distribute, consume and even think about electricity in the future.

Smart grids gives the owner better opportunities to connect to new energy services and control their electricity use.

The challenge for all grid owners is to be resilient to cyber-attacks and to be compliant with current security legislation. Ellevio (an electricity network company that owns the power grid in central Sweden) was faced with the question of how they would design and build a framework for control and cyber security to protect their clients' data and meet the requirements.

Christer

Christer Andersson Stål, Cyber Security Specialist at AFRY has worked with Cyber Security related questions for Ellevio since 2014. Christer was helping them, among other things with performing penetration tests against several systems during larger
system upgrades, as part of the release process.

- These assignments are interesting since they deal with cyber security for critical infrastructures, a very relevant and current topic, Christer Andersson Stål says.

 

(In)secure systems

Electricity meters are one end of the smart grid. At the other end there are substations where electricity is connected to the grid or transformed in the grid. In this context, we have associated SCADA systems (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) which are systems for monitoring and controlling electrical processes. 

SCADA is one of the most common types in industrial control systems, however, there is concern about its vulnerability to cyber-attacks and therefore security becomes very important. For instance, there have been previous cyber-attacks on the other grid owners leading to power loss of a whole city.

- In an environment with increasingly powerful threat actors, Christer has helped us in several projects with implementing challenging cyber security requirements, Jan Olsson, Line Manager at OT/Ellevio says.

Focus on Cyber Security
Currently Christer is helping Ellevio with making their systems more secure. For instance, he’s been helping with defining cyber security requirements on the new generation of smart electricity meters that are currently deployed to one million households throughout Sweden in the homes of Ellevio’s clients. Also, the smart grids help the end clients’ to monitor their power consumption in a greater detail which also contribute to a more sustainable society. Christer’s current focus is the ongoing work with strengthening and developing the technical cyber security architecture at Ellevio together with other Cyber Security specialists at Ellevio.

Christer Andersson Stål
Cyber Security Specialist

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