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Restoring power grids after cyber attacks


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 15 March, 2017


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The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded BAE Systems an $8.6 million deal to develop technology designed to help the nation rapidly restore power grids after a cyber attack.

DARPA will use BAE Systems’ technology to quickly isolate enterprise IT and power infrastructure networks from all avenues of attack as part of its Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation, and Characterization Systems (RADICS) program.

It achieves this by detecting and disconnecting unauthorised users from local networks within minutes using advanced network traffic control and analysis techniques.

The technology will also be used to establish a secure emergency network (SEN) between trusted organisations to help coordinate efforts to restore power to the grid.

The SEN uses broadcast, satellite and wireless technologies developed to provide agile communications in unstable environments.

“Getting the power back on quickly after a cyber attack is critical to national defence,” BAE Systems Senior Principal Engineer and Manager of Communications and Networking Victor Firoiu said.

“Given the scale and complexity of the US power grid, and the chaos following a coordinated, large-scale attack, this is no easy task. Our work with DARPA is intended to stop ongoing attacks and minimise downtime.”

Image courtesy BAE.

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