Canadian utilities ensure grid security with N-Dimension


Commenting on the collaboration, Terry Greco, VP of Finance for PUC Services, said: “Threats are growing more hostile and frequent, connected grid technologies are creating new exposures and new challenges. With cyber threats on the rise, monitoring and awareness of vulnerabilities is essential to mitigate risk.”

In line with the terms of the partnership, the utility deployed N-Dimension’s technologies N-Sentinel Monitoring and N-Sentinel Vulnerability Assessment to secure its power distribution and corporate network.

Following the launch of a water and electric AMI project by Sault Ste Marie’s utility, PUC Services installed the technologies to enhance the defensive nature of the system.

N-Sentinel Monitoring technology was installed in two locations within the network, with one sensor monitoring the operation of the network whilst the other protects the corporate network.

[quote] Should a cyber-threat arise, the sensors provide the utility with an alert with detailed insights on the nature of the threat, its source and how it can be eliminated via a safe online web portal.

In a press statement, Michael Lesnick, IT Manager at PUC Services, said: “Annual penetration testing is no longer adequate. N-Sentinel Monitoring gives us the metrics for all levels of utility management that enables us to keep them updated on how well our security defenses are working and our improvement over time.”

However, PUC Services is planning to expand the deployment of the solutions in all its IP Based networks including water and wastewater distribution systems in the district of Algoma and the Towns of Espanola, Massey and Webbwood.

In total, the utility has a total customer base of 80,000.

Cybersecurity development and certification

In early April, global independent safety science company UnderWriter Laboratories (UL) launched a new programme for testing and  development of cybersecurity solutions.

In a press statement, the US headquartered company said its Cybersecurity Assurance Programme (UL CAP) aims to assess security risks of cybersecurity technologies to help developers improve their solutions. [ViaSat certifies US DoE’s cybersecurity test bed].

The UL CAP will use the company’s new standards ‘UL 2900’ to test both hardware and software vulnerabilities, minimise exploitation, address known malware, review security controls and increase security awareness.

Commenting on the project, Rachna Stegall, Director of Connected Technologies at UL, said “The more devices become interconnected, the greater the potential security risks to products and services across all sectors.” [UL adopts new standards for testing cybersecurity tech].


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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.