cybersecurity
Cisco is partnering with AES Eletropaulo to implement next generation cybersecurity features including firewalls, VPN, switches and high-capacity routers.

[quote] The Brazilian utility will use these technologies to segregate different environments and enable new solutions for the smart grid. [EU signs MoU for R&D in cybersecurity]

The new cybersecurity features will be implemented by Cisco’s partner, PromonLogicalis. Cisco noted that AES “sought a topology that would provide scalability and would meet the [its] security requirements.”

A company release states that the isolation of the operating perimeter, which includes the meters, substations and power distribution systems of the corporate perimeter (which includes intranet and database); was a primary concern. Isolation would allow a secure connection with the web or with ERPs (administrative systems).

Cybersecurity features

The firewalls are being used to provide more protection to advanced threats and visibility into data traffic, ensuring that the access to the substations’ environment is allowed only to the SCADA systems (supervision, control and data acquisition).

SCADA systems are used by the AES Eletropaulo Distribution Operation Centre on transmission and monitoring of power loads. [Siemens and BCIT sign MoU on cybersecurity and microgrids]

The project also includes the deployment of ISR routers and virtual private network (VPN) technology for connectivity and the confidentiality of third party information, switches for private cloud connection, and switches for connecting servers and WAN networks.

With the new architecture, the AES Eletropaulo communication is encrypted, passing through at least two layers of firewalls equipped with IPS (Intrusion Prevention System).

Antônio Narvaez, IT director at AES Brasil, said: “Through the increasing integration between the automation and technology, the electricity sector system can face cyber threats.

“It is necessary to implement solutions, tools and processes that provide visibility, protection and rapid mitigation to the electricity sector, and this integration can occur safely.”

The release concluded, “The new security architecture will be essential for consolidation and further expansion of the AES Eletropaulo Smart Grid project.”

AES Eletropaulo launched its smart grid project in 2014 in the city of Barueri, São Paulo metropolitan region, through which the utility foresees the installation of 62,000 smart meters, directly impacting 250,000 people. The technology will allow a new form of power grid management with the operations’ automation and capacity planning.