FROM THE EDITOR
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, NORTH AMERICAN
POWER GENERATION GROUP
EDITOR IN CHIEF
TransmissionHub Senior Analyst Corina Rivera-Linares
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT-AUDIENCE
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POWERGRID International is the
offcial publication of
Defending the Grid
Certain questions come up that I dread at work. Here’s a major one:
How many times have we gotten that email, which looks like it came
from a friend or colleague, only to find out later that they never sent us
any such thing? Maybe we were lucky enough to never open it or maybe
we did without thinking twice.
Cybersecurity seems so important, so obvious, yet the attacks arrive in
often innocuous fronts. Hackers mimic the names of friends and email
addresses, just to get us to open something that could bring in a world
of hurt. Sometimes the motive is financial; sometimes it’s just chaos.
Recently I spent two days in San Antonio for the Distribu TECH conference committee meetings. I was my company’s representative on the
group which determines content for the Defending the Grid track at the
2018 DistribuTECH set Jan. 23-25 in San Antonio’s newly expanded
Henry B. Gonzalez Conference Center, just a proverbial stone’s throw
from the Riverwalk.
It was fascinating and mind-blowing to examine the dozens of
abstracts sent our way for consideration. Wow, there are so many potential vulnerabilities out there that the bad guys are probing. I know our
group, which features experts from Exelon Corp., San Diego Gas &
Electric and OATI, among others, did its best to deliver the cream of the
crop from the abstracts. Defending the Grid will feature incisive talks
on issues ranging from ransomware to attack vectors to physical threats.
The cyber defenses of our power grid have never been more sturdy. A
recent report by the North American Reliability Corp. (NERC) indicated
that no major hacks were successful in causing loss of load in 2016. That
fact is amazing, yet NERC warned that the danger continues to grow.
Those of us at POWERGRID International will try to keep you informed
on the latest and best practices in dealing with cyber assaults against the
power transmission network. In this issue alone we have three stories devoted to this cause. Jake Williams, founder of Rendition Infosec and a presenter
himself at the most recent Distribu TECH in San Diego, writes about the best
firewalls and protections for both the IT and OT sides of utilities.
Next up, Cyberbit’s Daniel Cohen-Sason writes about moving past the
“air gapping” myth of cyber defenses and focusing on three key steps to
address security issues. Finally, Stewart Kantor of Full Spectrum details
the many anxieties that grid operators face in today’s connected world.
All in all, it’s a deep dive into the invisible war going on between
hackers and grid defenders. It’s probably not ever going to be over, and
we’re committed to keep following it from battle to battle.