The electric power grid has changed significantly over the past decade and continues to change as technology evolves. More and more, new-generation substation control systems are based on open standards and commercial technology, including Ethernet and TCP/IP based communication protocols such as IEC 60870-5-104, DNP 3.0 or IEC 61850. While this change in technology has brought about huge operational benefits, it has introduced cyber security concerns and a potential challenge to network reliability. Electronic intrusion into a substation can misdirect or terminate service, and this intrusion can be from internal individuals or external hackers or organizations.
Many substation control and diagnostic systems in deployment were not designed for real-time security functionality and centralized system administration with robust access control. Utilities must implement policies to protect their substation systems against intrusion from within and from outside the corporate network. Further, they must be able to detect intrusion when it does occur to eliminate future untoward effects. Finally, they need to be prepared with planned response and restoration that not only returns targeted functionality but can improve system security.
The global power industry has stepped up its focus on cyber security for control and automation systems, and standards are in place identifying the functionalities required for secure substation operation. Utilities looking to protect against cyber attack on their substation automation systems must implement the SCADA, RTU and IED solutions that incorporate proven-technology and the security mechanisms meeting these standards.