The Energy Department handed out a bevy of awards to boost critical infrastructure cybersecurity and resilience.
The Energy Department handed out a bevy of awards to boost critical infrastructure cybersecurity and resilience.

The U.S. Energy Department will sink up to $50 million in multiple projects, 20 of them cybersecurity-related, under the umbrella of its National Laboratories to boost the resilience and security of the U.S. critical energy infrastructure.

“A resilient, reliable, and secure power grid is essential to the Nation's security, economy, and the vital services that Americans depend on every day,” Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said in a release, noting that back-to-back Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the ongoing recovery efforts, have emphasized the need to boost the nation's electricity delivery system to accommodate and recover from disruptions. 

“By leveraging the world-class innovation of the National Laboratories and their partners, this investment will keep us moving forward to create yet more real-world capabilities that the energy sector can put into practice to continue improving the resilience and security of the country's critical energy infrastructure,” he said.  

The awards for 20 cybersecurity projects, which include next-generation attack-resilient electricity distribution systems, malware operational mitigation, and keyless infrastructure security solution, are aimed at improving reliability and strength of the electric grid as well as the oil and gas infrastructure will center around six topic areas:

  • Partnerships to reduce risk through vulnerability mitigation;
  • Identify energy delivery system (EDS) equipment inadvertently exposed to the public internet to reduce the cybersecurity risk on the operational technology (OT) infrastructure;
  • Energy delivery systems that can adapt to survive a cyber-incident;
  • Energy delivery systems with verifiable trustworthiness;
  • Cybersecure communications for operating resilient grid architectures; and
  • Tools and technologies that enhance cybersecurity in the energy sector.

In addition, seven Resilient Distribution Systems projects were awarded through the Energy Department's Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC).