Siemens and NATO CCDCOE Advance Cooperation on Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure
July 6, 2020
Siemens Smart Infrastructure and the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to continue the cooperation on cybersecurity for critical infrastructure. The CCDCOE organized annual high-level cyber defence exercise Locked Shields exercise provides a key pillar to jointly build up defence capabilities. With the new agreement, the parties advance their existing cooperation on cyber security training for power grids. In experimenting with grid control software Spectrum Power, Siemens gains valuable insights on the potential attack vectors and can thoroughly test new security features or protocols for its products and solutions.
The way grids are operated and managed has changed fundamentally in the last years with the integration of more renewable and decentralized energy sources. The need for network optimization, interaction between prosumers, and the number of new market participants have all significantly increased. With information and communication technology penetrating transmission and distribution networks, the growing interconnections create more vectors for potential attacks on digital energy grids. Consequently, cybersecurity is a top priority for power system operators and government bodies.
Since 2010, Locked Shields is an annual cyber defence exercise organized by NATO CCDCOE to train cyber response teams to defend against massive cyberattacks. Siemens has teamed-up with NATO CCDCOE since 2017 to include power grid scenarios into the defense exercise, which includes systems and products such as the Siemens Spectrum Power and Sicam A8000 remote terminal units. These help to meet complex energy grid scenarios with control centers and substations which are interconnected and interdependent. In the exercise, the defenders have to set the defense lines of a complex infrastructure including various systems and applications that should withstand massive cyber-attacks executed by a large group of hackers. Keeping the lights on while performing threat hunting, reporting attacks and recovering the system are some of the challenging tasks the cybersecurity experts learn to deal with in this exercise. Locked Shields is an opportunity to learn through exercise, training and cooperation within the field of defense cyber operations.
Robert Klaffus, CEO of Siemens Digital Grid said: “Power grids and everything connected to them form the backbone of modern societies and are therefore attractive targets for hackers. The learning and experience with the Locked Shields exercise are essential to securing and protecting power grids. With the advanced cooperation with NATO CCDCOE, Siemens can gain valuable insights into new forms of attacks and how to address evolving cybersecurity challenges in digital energy grids. These insights are applied to further developments of our portfolio.” One example of testing new features as part of this cooperation is the open standard communication protocol OPC UA PUB/SUB, which is applied to many IoT-applications.
Colonel Jaak Tarien, Director of the NATO CCDCOE said: “Our long-term cooperation with Siemens in training the cyber experts to protect critical infrastructure in general and power grids in particular has been a major asset for the NATO CCDCOE technical cyber defence exercises. With the aim to reinforce the interaction amongst different cyber defence stakeholders, to deepen co-operation and exchange of best practices, this agreement takes our cooperation to a new level. Our societies rely on strong and resilient critical infrastructure. Accordingly, there is a real value in our partnership to advance cyber security together with the key industry partners like Siemens Smart Infrastructure.”