The Battle Has Begun on the Smart Grid Front

New Age of Cyber Threats

With a recent hack of the network owned and operated by Telvent, a smart grid giant that uses the system affected to control power grids, pipelines, and industrial controls around the world, it would seem that a new front has been opened up in the cyber war being waged by cyber criminals. A scenario once deemed hypothetical has become a reality. Such attacks upon smart grid networks can lead to power failure for millions of customers around the world. It can also lead to industrial sabotage, as the right set of commands can throw systems and networks into chaos, disrupting power, causing the stoppage of the flow of crucial resources, and putting industrial complexes around the world at risk.

What Can Be Done

According to a recent article by, one way of combating such intrusions is to limit access to critical systems and networks. This can involve allowing only employees to get on and use the network, or even through the use of an outside company to control access, almost like a security company but for networks. In the end though, as long as networks are connected to a smart grid, and thus the Web, hackers can gain access to vital systems and potentially cause irreparable harm.

Another way to protect critical systems is to develop the smart grid using standards-based technology. That way security for systems and networks can be developed using tried and true methods, such as IPv6, established for Wall Street and the Department of Defense.

Is Enough Being Done to Stop It?

With spending on smart grid cybersecurity looking to increase over the next few years, network and system protection is expected to be an area of prime importance, though recent setbacks in lawmaking circles that pertain to cybersecurity would say otherwise.

However, it does seem that the government and regulators might finally be seeing the worth of cybersecurity legislation, especially in light of a National Security Agency Report. The report cites a 17-fold increase in cyber attacks from 2009 to 2011. Hopefully, legislators can see the benefits of increased cyber protections. The consensus for improvement will only mount as more and more companies see the benefit of improved national cybersecurity, which in turn will influence those that they support in Washington.

Regardless, it is only a matter of time before the American people are affected in some negative, far-reaching way, and by then it could be too late.

For more information about the Telvent attack and recent cybersecurity efforts, visit: