Security vulnerability poses a critical challenge for providers of highly interconnected systems and cloud-based networks. These technological advancements make energy infrastructure more vulnerable to external (and sometimes internal) threats with more points of potential intrusion—with potentially disastrous results. Whether the work of disgruntled employees, hostile foreign entities, or simply hacker hobbyists testing their skills, hacking and malware could wreak havoc on a scale ranging from disconnecting individual meters or systems to taking control of a section of grid and immobilizing entire cities or regions. For any country, energy security is a national security issue.
For designers working on retrofitting existing substations or laying the foundation for the smart grid, the security issue requires a holistic view and comprehensive approach encompassing the hardware, operating system, and software requirements, with adequate planning and investment before actual deployment. Designers must be sure their equipment meets stringent regulatory standards for security, such as NERC CIP in North America or the international IEC 62351. They also need to make sure that the software solutions are upgradeable, as the nature of threats will evolve over time in ways that cannot be anticipated. Wind River® can help meet these challenges.