A report from ABI Research says that investments in cybersecurity to help protect the U.S. power grid will reach $2.9 billion by the end of 2013, according to Electric Light & Power/POWERGRID International magazine.
The report reveals that the incorporation of information and communications technologies (ICT) into the electrical grid has transformed the previously isolated structures into open and networked environments making them vulnerable.
ABI Research cybersecurity senior analyst, Michela Menting, said cyber attacks that can cause serious damage to electrical grids are a reality.
“Operators need to view cybersecurity as a core, integrated requirement of their offering and not as a secondary add-on,” Menting said. “Efforts by governments and standardization bodies to tackle vulnerabilities within power control systems are raising the level of awareness.”
Streamlining of the power sector and the emergence of the smart grid has ignored issues related to cybersecurity, the report said.
Incorporating port authentication, little encryption methods, the industrial control systems cannot frequently identify intrusions, further failing to deal with cyber security, which is resulting in rise in the susceptibility to cyber attacks.
“This is in turn driving a dedicated market in cyber security for critical infrastructure, targeting the security of industrial control systems, substations and advanced metering capabilities,” Menting added.
Firms including General Electric, Siemens and Honeywell provide respective cyber security services together with their ICS product offerings.
This article was originally published on Electric Light & Power/POWERGRID International. It was republished with permission.