DOE announces $20 million to strengthen cybersecurity

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Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the availability of up to $20 million for the development of tools and technologies to enhance the cybersecurity of the nation's energy delivery control systems for electricity, oil and gas.

As part of this funding, the Department of Energy (DOE) will require that award recipients collaborate with the energy sector to test the developed technologies so that they are best designed to meet the requirements of energy delivery systems.

"By developing new cybersecurity tools and technologies specifically designed for the needs of the energy sector, utilities and industry will be better equipped to protect against and respond to cyber threats," Chu said.

The newly announced cost-shared investments are intended to address the following cybersecurity needs of the energy sector, among others:

·      Protection of energy delivery control system software and firmware updates;

·      Sustainability of critical energy delivery functions and remote access to field devices while responding to a cyber-intrusion; and

·      Detection of compromises within the supply chain and manipulation of power grid components

DOE has a role in protecting and enhancing the cybersecurity of U.S. infrastructure. As the designated energy sector specific agency for the federal government, DOE has the responsibility to promote a resilient energy infrastructure in which continuity of business and services are maintained.

To accomplish this critical role the DOE works with private industry, energy sector stakeholders, and the intelligence community, as well as the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.

The funding announcement is a component of the Department's overall grid cybersecurity strategy, which is detailed in the "2011 Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cybersecurity."

The roadmap provides a strategic framework to align activities to sector needs, coordinate public and private programs, and stimulate investments in energy sector cybersecurity. In support of the recently released executive order on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, DOE will be actively engaged leveraging the experiences and resources from many of the efforts identified in the roadmap.

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