Identifying and Addressing High-Priority Cybersecurity Issues

The members of the Cybersecurity Collaborative, a multi-year initiative between Operations Technology Development (OTD) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are focused on identifying and addressing high-priority cybersecurity issues through technical evaluation and technology transfer. Gas Technology Institute (GTI) is leading the project on behalf of OTD.

The Collaborative delivers a focused outreach and education program and a technology evaluation and transfer initiative. This combined emphasis intends to reduce risk and diminish cyber attack threat exposure, intellectual property theft, and system operations disruption or damage.

Program results may be used by operators to educate internal and contracted personnel about cybersecurity, as well as evaluate and, where appropriate, implement state-of-the-art technologies focused on the prevention, detection, and mitigation of cyber threats.

The team has developed a vetted, prioritized, list of technologies and supporting material for transfer to utility operations and is building a cybersecurity technology improvement “roadmap”. The ability to transfer one or more asset management and detection technologies identified by DHS as ready to transition to practice is among the highest-priority initiatives.

The Collaborative meets quarterly, either via webinars or face-to-face meetings. Prominent activities and initiatives undertaken to date to mitigate cyberattacks intended to cause disruption or destruction of natural gas distribution infrastructure include:

  • Promoting collaboration among cybersecurity-focused organizations, such as National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Cyber Resilient Energy Delivery Consortium, American Gas Association’s Cybersecurity Strategy Task Force, and California Energy Systems for the 21st Century
  • Curating a team cybersecurity reference site which, when combined with quarterly meetings, educational field visits, and table top exercises, provides a forum to identify needs, share concerns, and discuss technology gaps.
  • Assessing cybersecurity technology effectiveness, evaluating methodologies to protect field-based operational technology, and identifying best practices

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