Energy Sector's Defenses to be Set in Stone

By CIOReview | Tuesday, July 9, 2019

A breach in the energy sector not only causes loss to the company but also disrupts millions of people. The enterprises need to provide an in-depth focus for preparing the companies to fight against the cyber attacks and other threats.

FREMONT, CA: It is a known fact that people can be harmed if the critical infrastructure is compromised, especially with vulnerabilities in the OT/IT boundary. But, it is also vital to understand that infrastructure is targeted through people. Once data is shared, it reaches the hands of employees and contractors. As the energy sector boasts of ironclad technological defense measures and initiatives implemented through multi-year plans, bad actors are likely to circumvent them and approach softer targets.

Compromised employee credentials can also create chaos, especially at a plant level, where the damage to the electrical grid can destroy both employees and operations. The network’s baseline behavior under ordinary circumstances is collected from across users, accounts, and machines. The data collected is leveraged to avail a greater circumstantial awareness in the network’s activity, which allows security experts to identify and respond to anomalies much quicker than later.

This process is called as user behavior analysis; it complements cross-domain solutions that cannot be overseen. With the help of the analysis, the power plant operators can monitor the interactions of employees with sensitive data and information, and detect risks occurring.

The employees’ role and credentials, the information they usually interact with are specifically recognized with the analysis. The employees’ behavior is tracked to understand how they tend to interact, and each of them is given a score that depends on monitoring and control. For example, an employee with a high-risk score cannot move data into a USB drive.

Securing the Supply Chain:

Securing the supply chain is a critical aspect of strengthening preparedness. Innumerable factors usually tend to work down the supply chain, assuming the level of defense will reduce the lower they go. Targeting the lower-tier contractors, less-equipped for protection of intellectual property can also take the grid.

It is crucial to monitor how the users interact with a risk-adaptive approach, which can be applied to the suppliers. The approach will monitor daily, identify bad actions, espionage, and block leaks before they happen. It is vital to hire bi-directional security, as well.