IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2016 - 50

table 1. A comparison of cyber-related events and what future events look like.
Northeast
Outage 2003

Arizona Public Service
Outage 2007

Florida Power &
Light Outage 2008

Ukraine Cyberattack 2015

The Next CyberCaused Event?

Cyber?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Intentional or
unintentional

Unintentional

Unintentional

Unintentional

Intentional

Could be either

Load lost

61,800 MW

400 MW

4,300 MW

Unconfirmed*

Unknown

*Reports range, with as many as 225,000 customers experiencing an outage.

before and, hence, more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats
and breaches. The so-called industrial Internet of Things is
a rapidly expanding reality already ushering in unintended
elements of weakness with the consequence of increased
operational points of failure. The result is that the electric
grid is becoming the target of increasing numbers of cyberattacks from various "threat actors"-a person, group, or
entity responsible, partly or wholly, for an incident that negatively impacts, may impact, or has the potential to impact
an organization's (operations, assets or personnel) security,
safety or well-being.
ICSs monitor and control processes that are often overlooked as potential cyberattack points of entry. ICSs include
intelligent electronic devices or IEDs (used for controlling
table 2. A comparison of traditional IT
and ICS cybersecurity priorities.
Traditional IT
Focus

ICS Focus

Maintain
confidentiality
(privacy)

High

Low

Message integrity

Low-medium

Very high

System availability

Low-medium

Very high

Authentication

Medium-high

High

Nonrepudiation

High

Low-medium

Safety

Low

Very high

Time criticality

Delays tolerated

Critical

System downtime

Tolerated

Not acceptable

Security skills/
awareness

Usually good

Usually poor

System life cycle

3-5 years

15-25 years

Interoperability

Not critical

Critical

Computing
resources

"Unlimited"

Very limited

Standards

ISO27000

ISA/IEC 62443

Attribute

50

ieee power & energy magazine

circuit breakers, transformers, capacitor banks, and power
systems equipment), programmable logic controllers (PLCs),
voltage/frequency/power control monitors, sensors, valves,
motors, or device status indicators. These devices have
always been critical to the safe operation of power generation and power delivery systems, yet their susceptibility to
intrusion has rarely been a concern. That was yesterday.
Today ushers in a new global scenario. What was previously an untargeted, low-risk component of the national
electric infrastructure has now become a prime cybertarget. The possibility of a cyberattack on electricity supply
and power delivery is real. An aggressive attack on ICSs by
a determined hostile party-or possibly even a careless or
malicious employee-has the potential to disrupt electrical
service for extended periods. See Table 1.

Differences between Traditional IT
Cybersecurity and ICS Cybersecurity
Traditional IT security breaches have targeted data and personal information. ICS intrusions target physical processes
and equipment, specifically the control systems and smart
devices connected to the electric grid. IT cybersecurity has
been led predominantly by IT organizations and focuses
primarily on the protection of information systems and
sensitive data. ICS cybersecurity, on the other hand, cannot
be viewed solely as an IT activity, as ICS intrusions have
the potential to impact the critical operating assets of the
enterprise. ICS cybersecurity needs to be an operationally
focused effort involving a much broader cross-functional
team. Additional contrasts between IT and ICS cybersecurity approaches may reflect varying priorities and technology preferences of the IT and the operations departments,
as characterized by design objectives in Table 2 presented
at the 2016 Food Industry Cybersecurity Summit.
A sophisticated and coordinated attack could result in
substantial long-term damage and service disruption. A key
challenge facing utilities is the scarcity of resources with
both ICS and IT security expertise. Few ICS experts are also
information security experts and vice versa. It is important
that IT and ICS professionals collaborate to develop workable
security solutions that benefit the entire enterprise. Otherwise, mixed approaches and divergence between IT and ICS
groups will likely lead to less-than-optimal cybersecurity
september/october 2016



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2016

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2016 - Cover1
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2016 - Cover2
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2016 - Cover3
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