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Intel Security reveals CIP tech for unprepared energy sector

The technology also holds promise beyond the power grid.

By Ellie Burns

Intel Security today announced the Intel Security Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP), a technology platform that could secure both legacy and new capabilities within the electric power grid.

The solution was developed in collaboration with the Department of Energy-funded Discovery Across Texas smart grid project, including deployment at Texas Tech University.

Intel Security CIP works by separating the security management functions of the platform from the operational applications, allowing the operational layer to be robustly secured, monitored and managed.

Intel Security CIP can be applied with little or no changes to business processes or application software, and can be retrofitted onto many existing systems.

In a recent Intel Security study, "In the Dark: Crucial Industries Confront Cyberattacks," the company found that of the 200 CIP executives surveyed globally, 32% had not adopted special security measures for smart grid controls. Yet 33%anticipated a major cybersecurity incident within 12 months. In short, the report concluded that the energy sector was not adequately prepared for cyberattacks.

"The risk of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure is no longer theoretical, but building security into the grid is challenging due to the amount of legacy infrastructure and the importance of availability of service," said Lorie Wigle, vice president of Internet of Things security solutions for Intel Security.

"Traditional security measures such as patching and rebooting are often inappropriate for the grid, so we set out to design something entirely different that could be non-invasive but simultaneously robust."

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"From December 2013 to January 2015, the Intel Security CIP was in a field trial at Texas Tech University, where it performed as required by NIST standards and withstood penetration testing, as well as protected the synchrophasor applications during the Heartbleed vulnerability and Havex attacks," said Milton Holloway, president & COO, Center for the Commercialization of Electric Technologies.

"This project was an outstanding example of a successful public-private partnership in that it produced technologies that are market-ready. What could be a better outcome of a demonstration project?"

Intel Security CIP provides a secure managed platform that includes fundamental protection building blocks such as device identity, malware protection, data protection and resiliency – all tailored to today’s machine-to-machine environments.

The technology also holds promise beyond the power grid and could be equally effective for departments of defence, the oil and gas industry and medical applications, among other uses.

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