Cyber terrorists with easy access to the electronic systems that run power plants pose one of the biggest threats in the 21st century. The incident at Bradwell that was reported in the February 2001 issue of NEI, in which a security guard tried to alter and delete information resulting in a lockdown of the plant, is an example of one such possible hacker situation. There are numerous other possible scenarios, however.
Many plant computer applications must have the ability to obtain and to utilise vast amounts of data very rapidly, to be highly reliable, to be user configurable and to also allow for the interactive operation of the system. However, requirements such as these will also make the systems very vulnerable to electronic intrusion by either hackers or by disgruntled employees and contractors.
Very few utility equipment, software or database suppliers have yet addressed electronic security, and most of the security vendors have so far failed to consider the many unique aspects that are posed by electronic systems.
In order to be able to identify the various electronic security threats posed to the energy industry, EPRI launched the Enterprise Infrastructure Security Initiative (EIS) at the beginning of last year. Members of the programme are invited to attend a series of workshops in order to help them to be better able to identify risks and develop more robust electronic security programmes.
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