Building Energy Network Security and Resiliency - Brett Luedde, ViaSat Inc.


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Brett Luedde of ViaSat Inc., a service provider company at the marcus evans Transmission & Distribution Summit 2013 and Distribution Technology & Innovation Summit 2014, on network security and resiliency.
Interview with: Brett Luedde, Director of Critical Infrastructure Security, ViaSat Inc.

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Building Energy Network Security and Resiliency - Brett Luedde, ViaSat Inc.

  1. 1. Interview with: Brett Luedde, Director of Critical Infrastructure Security, ViaSat Inc. “Great security is a business enabler,” according to Brett Luedde, Director of Critical Infrastructure Security, ViaSat Inc, referring to energy delivery infrastructure. “You can realize the promise of advanced technology, improve resiliency and reliability, and establish trust in your systems and operations. It is true that implementing great security leads to compliance, but merely being compliant does not mean the systems are secure. From a cyber attack perspective, the network is most likely already infected in some way, and if not, it is just a matter of when. The ability to quickly detect changes in behavior, which can indicate an attack or infection, is absolutely critical,” he adds. ViaSat Inc. is a service provider at the marcus evans Transmission & Distribution Summit 2013, in Atlanta, Georgia, November 4-6, and the D is t ri b u t i o n T e c h n ol o g y & Innovation Summit 2014, in Dallas, Texas, March 31 - April 1. What security threats and attacks are energy delivery systems and grids vulnerable to? How could ViaSat’s cybersecurity control system mitigate them? Networks are vulnerable to internal and external threats. The vulnerabilities exist on many fronts as these systems become more and more automated and networked. Many of the threats are, or are based on, known malicious content. Every day there are new variants and never-seen-before viruses and malware being developed. The ability to quickly detect changes in behavior, which can indicate an attack or infection, is absolutely critical. The ViaSat cybersecurity control system is based on our heritage with the military in providing the tools, technology and systems that allow troops to complete their missions. We understand that there are many complex operational decisions that must be made with confidence, based on an operator’s ability to trust the information they are receiving. We want to establish the basis for that trust and give operators the ability to act quickly and decisively. Our cybersecurity delivers real-time situational awareness for grid operators: monitoring, detection, and response capability across multiple systems and integrating both older legacy equipment and new state-of-the-art IEDs. Not only are we providing security at the device level, but also to the communication networks that connect grid control systems. Our goal in the electric utility industry is to enable mission assurance and the highest Quality of Trust for grid operators. Very simply, we enable electric utilities to be resilient in the face of grid events and keep the lights on. What do traditional IT approaches lack? Traditional IT approaches, such as firewalls, are an absolutely necessary security layer, but they are insufficient. They stop or identify known bad actors, but cannot detect bad actors that are already inside the network or that have never been seen before. Typically, they are deployed as point solutions and as such they should be considered as pieces of, or one layer of, a more holistic approach. What are the internal and external threats to the operations network? It is a well-known fact that humans are typically the most vulnerable points in a company. Insider threats come in two types: inadvertent (think spear phishing victims) and intentional (such as disgruntled employees or former employees). External threats can range from natural disasters to kids just trying to solve a puzzle to hacktivists to state level sabotage. Wherever the threat comes from utilities need to be able to quickly detect the anomalous behavior, respond appro- priately and restore systems to steady state. Implementing comprehensive, holistic security enables this kind of resiliency. What are the benefits of real-time monitoring and detecting of anomalies? Monitoring and detecting anomalies in real time is what gives you resilient grid operation. Coupling this with powerful and easy to use visualization enables operators to quickly respond to events and minimize – or even avert – outages. Because we are monitoring the behavior of the devices and measuring their trustworthiness, we are able to quickly detect changes that originate from inside or outside networks, and that might be the result of known or unknown viruses or malware. This greatly increases resiliency and reliability. Behavioral monitoring in the operational networks and real-time situational awareness and response helps reduce and avert outages, as well as recover more quickly from adverse grid events. Also, securing commu- nications pathways and establishing trust within the networks enables utilities to achieve the full benefits of their automation and efficiency improvement programs. Networks are vulnerable to internal and external threats Building Energy Network Security and Resiliency
  2. 2. The Energy Network - marcus evans Summits group delivers peer-to-peer information on strategic matters, professional t r e n d s a n d b r e a k t h r o u g h innovations. Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited. For more information please send an email to or visit the event websites below: Transmission & Distribution Summit 2013: Distribution Technology & Innovation Summit 2014: About ViaSat Inc. ViaSat engineers creative ways to connect people to today’s new communication applications with networking systems that enable fast, secure, and efficient communications to virtually any location. Products include gateway and terminal equipment for consumer and mobile satellite broadband services, antenna systems, mobile satcom, communication system development, and information security. About marcus evans Summits marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, case studies, roundtables and one-on-one business meetings. For more information, please visit: Upcoming Events Petrochemical & Refining Summit - Power Plant Management & Generation Summit - Wind Power Summit - To view the web version of this interview, please click here: Contact Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division Tel: + 357 22 849 313 Email: For more information please send an email to All rights reserved. The above content may be republished or reproduced. Kindly inform us by sending an email to