Protecting Southern California’s Access to Electricity
Reliable and safe electricity service is a basic requirement of modern life. That’s why we’re developing and implementing cutting-edge cybersecurity technologies to secure the electricity grid.
Securing the Grid With Military-Grade Technology
"The electricity grid system is part of our nation’s critical infrastructure, according to the Department of Homeland Security."
Patents have been filed on our cybersecurity solution, and we’re working with the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to facilitate its broader industry adoption.
The Serious Threat of Cyber Attack
Reports of cyber attacks on companies are increasingly common, and consequences can be highly destructive. Cyber attacks come in many forms: social engineering, botnets launching distributed denial of service responses, insider threats, and malware – and they’re increasingly sophisticated. A key objective of our cybersecurity technology program is to stay ahead of the threat with monitoring and alerting capabilities that deliver timely, actionable warning when threats appear.
Society’s increasing dependence on wireless communication technologies has transformed many aspects of day-to-day life – and most of us are both more productive and more connected than ever before – but it’s also led to new security vulnerabilities. As a result of the continually evolving industry, regulatory, technology and threat landscapes, a high level of vigilance is required.
An Approach with Roots in the Military
Our utility, Southern California Edison, oversees an enterprise-wide cybersecurity program to protect its electricity infrastructure from all forms of cyber threat. The program – which includes security engineering and risk management protocols – uses military-grade cybersecurity technology to protect the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of its information technology system and grid-control operations.
Our utility is actively engaged in transferring advanced cybersecurity technologies from the defense and intelligence industries to its smart grid development efforts, because military-grade cybersecurity can secure the electric grid and ensure continued reliability.
Patents Filed: Common Cybersecurity Services
Over the past several years, our utility, SCE, has developed Common Cybersecurity Services (CCS) to protect its grid infrastructure, based on the understanding that the level of automation and connectivity being introduced through grid modernization efforts also has the effect of increasing its vulnerability.
Each device on the grid secured by CCS has a unique key to enable secure communications with its control system. The user interface provides real-time status of smart grid security. If the integrity of any individual device on the grid is in doubt, the system allows it to continue to operate – to ensure reliable electric service – but in a limited capacity. This approach mitigates the risk of attacker seizing control of the electric grid from an individual device.
Patents have been filed on the CCS design. Our utility is working with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, as well as other agencies to facilitate broad industry adoption. In October 2013, technology partner ViaSat of Carlsbad, Calif., received a $3.25 million grant from the DOE to continue working with us to further enhance the CCS.
Smart Grid at Edison: Field Trials
Our utility’s CCS solution is currently deployed in the Irvine Smart Grid Demonstration (ISGD) project. After field trials in the ISGD project, SCE will deploy CCS to electric substations in its transmission and distribution network.