NIST is Hunting for Tech to Secure the Energy Sector’s Network

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is seeking input from tech and cyber experts on how to secure the countless internet-connected devices that are attached to the nation’s power grid.

On Tuesday, NIST put out a call for products and proposals that would help the energy sector lock down the industrial internet of things, the extensive web of control systems, sensors and other network-enabled devices that companies use to manage the grid. The most promising respondents will have the opportunity to demo their products and strategies before energy sector representatives, according to a post on the Federal Register.

The program will specifically focus on securing the flow of data from distributed energy resources, or DERs, which include wind turbines, solar panels and other decentralized energy storage and generation systems. DERs are becoming commonplace as more of the country turns to renewable energy, though today federal officials worry the systems could leave the grid vulnerable to attack.

Through the program, NIST’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence aims to create guidance and reference architectures that energy companies could use to build stronger defenses for their digital infrastructure. 

In the post, NIST said it’s looking for products that improve analysis and visualization of network data, ensure data integrity and log the flow of information between DERs and other control systems. Officials are also interested in technologies that can strengthen authentication and access control for both humans and devices, detect malware and flag suspicious behavior on the network.

Read more at: Nextgov