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Public Distribution | 25 Jan 2019

New generation of electronic equipment developed with technology from Basque companies for a securer electrical network

  • The SecureGrid consortium has developed new cybersecurity and data analytics technologies to substantially improve the level of security of electrical substations and their electronic equipment.
  • The initiative received the participation of the companies ZIV, Arteche, GE, Ingeteam, ITS Security, Ormazabal and the Energy Cluster of the Basque Country, with the collaboration of Tecnalia.
  • The partners presented the project's results at an event organized at the Bizkaia Technology Park under the title: “Building a more cybersecure electric network”.
The Deputy Minister of Technology and Innovation for the Basque Government, Estíbaliz Hernáez, launched the event “Building a more cybersecure electric network”, at the Bizkaia Science and Technology Park, to present the results of the SecureGrid project in the context of cybersecurity for electric network infrastructures.
The event, organized by ZIV (project leader), Arteche, GE, Ingeteam, ITS Security, Ormazabal and the Energy Cluster with the collaboration of Tecnalia, as promoters of SecureGrid, received the participation of Asier Martínez, Head of CSIRT at the Basque Cybersecurity Centre (BCSC) and representatives of the Red Eléctrica de España (Spanish National Grid), Iberdrola, EDP and Endesa as speakers. They were also accompanied by the entities participating in the project, which has received the support of the Basque Government Department of Economic Development and Infrastructure through the Hazitek Programme.

The Project

For three years, the SecureGrid project has undertaken the development of new knowledge for the securitization of the electrical installations of the high and medium voltage network and its electronic equipment, the so-called IEDs (Intelligent Electronic Devices), which have remote communication characteristics and capacities, making them critical points of Smart Grids in the fight against cyber attacks.
As a result of the work carried out, they have defined a benchmark architecture under the defence-in-depth paradigm and a cybersecurity model for IED based on the IEEE 1686 standard, which establishes the level of security that an IED can reach (basic, medium or high) and thanks to which it is possible to define what functionalities a device must incorporate to reach a certain level of security in terms of confidentiality, integrity, availability and non-repudiation.
Based on this framework, a range of equipment developed by the project partners that performs protection and control functions within a transformer centre or a substation has been selected. To this equipment security improvements have been applied, such as the incorporation of role-based access control measures (RBAC), the generation and management of an audit trail with basic event information, real-time monitoring of events and alarms, and the encryption of communications, among others.
The actions on the equipment are complemented with the development of an attack detection system based on data analytics with Kill Chain methodology and an ethical hacking tool that allows the configuration and execution of different penetration tests (pentesting) on electronic devices of an electric installation, which may be used by manufacturers to check the level of security offered by their equipment.
The project has substantially contributed to positioning the Basque industry as a benchmark in the field of cybersecurity in Smart Grids, a sector that has experienced outstanding developments and maintains an important growth forecast for the coming years.