Social Engineering Attacks and the Smart Grid

I spoke recently at a meeting of the Dublin, Ireland chapter of ISACA about the continued (and increasing) use of social engineering in cyberattacks discussed in several recent reports, including the joint report by ISACA and RSA that documents the results of a survey of cybersecurity professionals, conducted in the first quarter of 2015. Those […]

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Socio-Economic Challenges for the Smart Grids Vision

M. Schmidthaler, J. Reichl and K. de Bruyn Energy Institute at the J. Kepler University Linz A holistic investigation of future European smart grids requires a number of economic and societal analyses apart from the consideration of the technical and legal challenges. This becomes more obvious in light of the societal dimension of supply security […]

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SPARKS Highlights the Smart Grid Cybersecurity Threat at their 2nd Stakeholder Workshop

On Wednesday 25th March 2015, the SPARKS project held its 2nd Stakeholder Workshop at the EMC2 Centre of Excellence and Nimbus Microgrid in Cork, Ireland. Stakeholders from different smart grid sectors attended, including Distribution System Operators (DSOs), equipment and solutions providers, research institutions, and academia. The major goal of the workshop was to highlight to […]

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Microgrids and Smart Grid Resilience

Photo by Rob Ward, (Landis+Gyr): SPARKS Advisory Board and Project Team meetings January 2015 The SPARKS project team held a 3-day meeting recently, including both a 1-day workshop with the project’s advisory board and a 2-day workshop on our near-term deliverables. I spent much of my time working on the evaluation of various reference architectures, methodlogies and models for […]

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Steel Mills and the Security of Critical Infrastructure

In late December, the German government issued a report about a cyber attack on a steel mill that resulted in significant damage to that facility. The attack has received extensive publicity since then, from the BBC to YouTube, including a detailed analysis of the attack by SANS. Many of these reports, call such as the […]

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Risk Management and the Smart Grid

One of our first areas of activity in SPARKS is to understand and make recommendations regarding effective risk management for the Smart Grid. A great deal of work has been done by government, industry and academia in defining best practices in this area. But are the results sufficient? Do they really address the issues that […]

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SPARKS Plenary Meeting and Joint Workshop in Stockholm

From the 15th – 16th September 2014 the SPARKS consortium met in Stockholm at the campus of KTH Royal Institute of Technology for its second plenary meeting. The programme included discussions on recent activities, such as the project’s 1st stakeholder workshop, and looked ahead to next steps. A major theme of the meeting related to […]

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The (In)Security of the IoT

Several announcements in July have focused attention on security vulnerabilities and risks in the Internet of Things. Siemens announced an update to fix vulnerabilities in its SIMATIC automation system for energy management. Ponemon Institute, jointly with Unisys, announced its report on security vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure. And HP announced its research on vulnerabilities in IoT devices. […]

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The Dragonfly Attack

Symantec recently released a comprehensive Security Response describing a 2013 cyber-attack on US energy infrastructure, dubbed “Dragonfly“ (also known as “Energetic Bear”. F-Secure has been tracking one of the malware variants used, called Havex.) The attack used spear-phishing, water-holing and  Remote Access Trojans to compromise a number of important organizations in the United States, Spain, […]

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