Risk
3/12/2011
08:12 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

NERC Creates Cyber Assessment Task Force

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) recently announced the formation of a Cyber Attack Task Force. The task force will be charged with identifying the potential impact of a coordinated cyber attack on the reliability of the bulk power system.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) recently announced the formation of a Cyber Attack Task Force. The task force will be charged with identifying the potential impact of a coordinated cyber attack on the reliability of the bulk power system.According to this release, the task force "will identify opportunities to enhance existing protection, resilience and recovery capabilities associated with power system operations practices, plans and procedures, as well as the tools and systems that operators rely upon to manage the reliable operation of the bulk power system."

The goal is to develop flexible options so that potential attacks can be spotted and rapidly mitigated.

So far, the task force comprises roughly 40 volunteers, and is chaired by Mark Engels, director of Information Technology Risk Management at Dominion. Charles Abell, supervising engineer of Transmission Operations Technical Support at Ameren Corporation, is vice chair.

The creation of the task force is part of the "Coordinated Action Plan" that was developed as part of a cooperative effort between NERC and the Department of Energy. That report concluded that the best way to manage a cyber event would be through a coordinated effort between the bulk energy industry and NERC-led initiatives. The June 2010 report, High Impact, Low Frequency Event to the North American Bulk Power System can be found here.

The resulting coordinated response to an attack that arrives from the Coordinated Action Plan is supposed to model "extreme conditions that would make bulk power system operations much more challenging than would normally be considered by electricity entities through their usual planning and preparedness activities," the initiative's scope document states.

A separate Smart Grid Security Task Force is being established to address security issues related to smart grid.

"NERC and the electricity industry have been actively addressing cybersecurity risks for some years now," said Gerry Cauley, president and CEO of NERC said in a statement. "This initiative will more thoroughly examine the potential impact of a targeted cyber attack and how the industry should best coordinate the preparedness and response actions of cyber security experts with power grid operators."

Let's hope so.

For my security and technology observations throughout the day, find me on Twitter.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-4807
Published: 2014-11-22
Sterling Order Management in IBM Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite 9.3.0 before FP8 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (CPU consumption) via a '\0' character.

CVE-2014-6183
Published: 2014-11-22
IBM Security Network Protection 5.1 before 5.1.0.0 FP13, 5.1.1 before 5.1.1.0 FP8, 5.1.2 before 5.1.2.0 FP9, 5.1.2.1 before FP5, 5.2 before 5.2.0.0 FP5, and 5.3 before 5.3.0.0 FP1 on XGS devices allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary commands via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-8626
Published: 2014-11-22
Stack-based buffer overflow in the date_from_ISO8601 function in ext/xmlrpc/libxmlrpc/xmlrpc.c in PHP before 5.2.7 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code by including a timezone field in a date, leading to improper XML-RPC encoding...

CVE-2014-8710
Published: 2014-11-22
The decompress_sigcomp_message function in epan/sigcomp-udvm.c in the SigComp UDVM dissector in Wireshark 1.10.x before 1.10.11 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (buffer over-read and application crash) via a crafted packet.

CVE-2014-8711
Published: 2014-11-22
Multiple integer overflows in epan/dissectors/packet-amqp.c in the AMQP dissector in Wireshark 1.10.x before 1.10.11 and 1.12.x before 1.12.2 allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) via a crafted amqp_0_10 PDU in a packet.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?