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Electricity Infrastructures: Working Sinergically to Win the Cybersecurity Challenge

Electricity Infrastructures: Working Sinergically to Win the Cybersecurity Challenge

A workshop on cybersecurity was held on the last 23rd of June in Rome a the the G7-Energy summit. The recent hacks become textbook cases and will set the guidelinesfor developing programmes to combat and prevent cyberattacks. National and cross border interaction was identified as the key to achieve a common, harmonious growth and increase protection capability. Research will play a crucial role

For a whole day the leaders of the G7 Energy summit shared strategic guidelines on the cybersecurity of electrical systems. On the 23rd of June the representatives of the Group of 7 (the seven major advanced economies in the world: France, UK, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada, with the participation of the EU) sat at the table of the Onofri hall at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation under the coordination of the heads of the Ministry of Economic Development in a workshop of strategic importance for the electricity sector.

Italian speaker Rita Forsi – heading the National Computer Emergency Response Team for corporate and citizen cyber security – outlined the three-tier architecture (featuring an organizational, a coordination and a strategic level) adopted by the institutional bodies dealing with national IT security.

The recent cases of cyber hacks into electricity infrastructures have set a precedent and will determine the development of the different programmes outlined by the Italian representatives, the German BSI, the European Commission, the USA Department of Energy – a very interesting programme for emergency preparation and response was presented by Carol Hawk, that outlined research priorities for the USA’s Government and labs.

There was also room for contributions by representatives of electricity players like Enel and Terna - with special programmes covering corporate organization, processes and policies for risk prevention and incident response - and by the French transmission system operator RTE.

The common thread to all the speeches was the awareness that national and cross-border interaction is key to foster a common, harmonious growth and to increase capabilities to defend ourselves from and respond to cyberattacks. Giovanna Dondossola of RSE stressed the need to carry on with technological developments in accordance with EU’s NIS (Network and Information Security) Directive that is in the process of being implemented as well as to promote specific research activities aimed at assessing the impact and effectiveness of cybersecurity solutions through experimental testing and simulations.

She also highlighted how RSE’s research priorities include the development of security monitoring platforms based on an integration of IT technologies with OT (Operation Technology) components that feature monitoring functions for electrical systems processes. RSE’s test bed as well as its close cooperation with Enel provide a good example of such integration.

In this regard, Stephan Lechner of the European Commission as Chair of the session emphasized the complementary nature of the technological developments aimed to enhance the cybersecurity of new applications outlined in the Italian R&D programme and the solutions aimed to secure existing infrastructures included in the U.S. programme.

In his closing remarks, Director General Gilberto Dialuce expressed his satisfaction that the 2017 G7 Electricity Sector Cybersecurity workshop under the Italian G7 Presidency set out a clear roadmap for the development of cybersecurity in the electricity sector.Now governments, operators, the industry and research bodies must strive towards greater synergy