Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure to Get a $45M Funding Infusion

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The Department of Energy’s investment will help to fund 15 research projects to protect critical energy infrastructure.

Following several attacks on critical infrastructure in recent years and an increasing rate of these attacks, the Department of Energy is providing $45 million in funding for the next-generation of technology to protect the electric grid from cyberattacks and help deploy clean energy. 

The DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response will fund up to 15 research, development and demonstration projects to create new cybersecurity tools and technologies that decrease cyber risks for energy infrastructure. These projects will create or help existing research partnerships with energy utilities, vendors, universities, laboratories and service providers working to build a resilient energy system. For example, DOE stated that this will allow researchers to “develop tools and technologies that enable energy systems to autonomously recognize a cyberattack, attempt to prevent it, and automatically isolate and eradicate it with no disruption to energy delivery.”

“As DOE builds out America’s clean energy infrastructure, this funding will provide the tools for a strong, resilient, and secure electricity grid that can withstand modern cyberthreats and deliver energy to every pocket of America,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said. “DOE will use this investment to continue delivering on the Biden administration’s commitment to making energy cheaper, cleaner and more reliable.”  

This funding is important because cyberattacks to energy systems “can shut down critical energy infrastructure and disrupt energy supply, the economy and the health of American consumers,” according to the DOE. Attacks like the one against Colonial Pipeline highlight the impact of these attacks on critical infrastructure. 

The DOE’s funding will also be combined with grid updates funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act to help the U.S. boost its energy sector cyber defense. 

The research topics include six areas: automated cyberattack prevention and mitigation, security and resiliency by design, authentication mechanism for energy delivery systems, automated methods to discover and mitigate vulnerabilities, cybersecurity through advanced software solutions, and integration of new concepts and technologies with existing infrastructure.