SUPPORT US

Ready to Respond: The Electricity Sector and Evolving Cyber Threats

Ready_to_Respond_Header.jpg

Image credit: Dreamstime

COMMENTARY

Leah Michalopulos
Director of Government Relations, Canadian Electricity Association
January 19, 2021

Reliable and resilient electricity is essential for Canadians. This is why electricity companies work 24/7 to keep the grid secure and reliable. While the pandemic has been prevalent in all facets of business and life this year, COVID-19 has not been the only challenge electricity companies are addressing in 2020. Perhaps even more prevalent is the evolving cyber security threat landscape.  

The National Cyber Threat Assessment(‘NCTA’), recently published by the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, states that not only are the number of cyber threat actors is rising, but they are also becoming more sophisticated. It finds that ‘state-sponsored actors are very likely attempting to develop cyber capabilities to disrupt Canadian critical infrastructure, such as the supply of electricity, to further their goals.’    

The report also describes that while advancements in technology are spurring innovation and transformation, helping to make our lives better– the growth technologies such as of the Internet of Things, the Industrial Internet of Things and automation also mean new risks in the cyber security landscape that companies must adapt to.    

Most of the cyber security issues outlined in the report are not surprising to those in the electricity sector; this is the reality they face for every day as they continuously work to protect the grid against dynamic threats.    

Protecting the grid is a top priority for Canadian electricity companies, a responsibility the sector takes seriously. From activities such as complying with cyber security standards as a baseline, participating in forums for security information sharing, continuously taking proactive actions to prevent and respond to physical and cybersecurity intrusions, practicing response to major events, striving to foster a culture of security, and making investments to support physical and cyber security – this work never stops.    

Also essential are partnerships with the broader electricity security community, such as the Canadian government, including with the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security. Given the integrated nature of the Canada-U.S. electricity grid, Canadians also cooperate with their Americans counterparts on electricity security – engaging in unity of effort and response to evolving threats facing the electricity sector. 

But as shown in the NCTA, threats against the electricity sector and the threat landscape itself continue to evolve. This comes at a time when electricity is becoming even more essential, and we are becoming even more digitally connected.   

With transformations being brought about by technological advancements such as AI and the growth of the Internet of Things, and with policymakers and businesses looking to achieve clean energy goals through electrifying the economy, electricity will only become even more important.   

And this is good. More electricity can power more innovation– creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians. More electricity can mean more digital connectivity - making our lives more efficient and easier. Electrification can lead to a clean growth economy and help us achieve climate goals.  

But none of this is possible without secure electricity. In short, secure, reliable electricity is essential for our way of life.   

Given the cyber threat landscape, ensuring this imperative will require that the electricity sector, other critical infrastructure sectors and governments continue to not work in isolation. No one sector or government can do this alone. Addressing evolving, more prevalent and increasingly sophisticated threats means that it will be essential to forge deeper trusted partnerships throughout the critical infrastructure security community to work in unity to make things more secure.  

To that end, the Canadian electricity sector continues to encourage deeper partnerships between industry and government on this issue.   

Now, more than ever, it will be important that government partners continue to invest in programs and policies that serve to support the security posture of Canadian critical infrastructure, and to continue to show leadership on these issues.  This includes helping to promote and train a cyber workforce that is ready to take on the cyber challenges of tomorrow. It includes deepened support for cyber security information and intelligence sharing programs between industry and government. It includes enabling electricity companies to take cyber security actions though continuing to provide actionable and timely information. It includes partnership to find solutions to the major cyber security issues we face today, such as the security of IoT devices and supply chain cyber security. 

The need for electricity is only going to grow in the future. And the system that makes, moves, and delivers that electricity is only going to become more networked and connected. Malicious actors- motivated by any kind of malice, money, or politics aren’t going to go away. Collectively, we can’t let our guard down.  


Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Cgai Staff
    published this page in Commentary 2021-01-19 18:19:23 -0500
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTERS
 
UPCOMING EVENTS

CONFERENCE
Annual Defence Procurement Conference

Ottawa, Ontario

October 25, 2022

SEARCH
EXPERTS IN THE MEDIA

G7 Update

by Heather Hiscox (feat. Andrew Rasiulis), CBC, June 30, 2022

Inside Policy: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

by Editorial Staff (feat. Rob Huebert), MLI, June 30, 2022

Canada to upgrade Latvia battlegroup to a brigade, boost number of troops

by Editorial Staff (feat. David Perry), Kelowna Now, June 29, 2022

What slowdown? Canada's economy to top G7 on high oil, crop prices

by Julie Gordon and Rod Gordon (feat. Kevin Birn), Saltwire, June 29, 2022

Alliance renforcée

by Céline Galipeau (feat. Stefanie von Hlatky), Le Tele Journal, June 29, 2022

1.6 million public chargers needed in Canada for EV transition

by Larysa Harapyn (feat. Brian Kingston), The Financial Post, June 29, 2022

Passport? What passport?

by Martin C. Barr (feat. Andrew Griffith), Laval News, June 29, 2022

Oil production test looms for OPEC heavyweights Saudi Arabia, UAE

by Editorial Staff (feat. Ellen Wald), S&P Global, June 29, 2022

Eric Nuttall & Amrita Sen - Oil & Energy Update

by Eric Nuttall (feat. Amrita Sen), Nine Point Partners, June 29, 2022

All talk, no traction

by Maura Forest and Andy Blatchford (feat. Robert Huebert), Politico, June 29, 2022

U.S. pushes for Russian oil price ceiling. Feasible?

by Matt Levin (feat. Ellen Wald), MARKETPLACE, June 28, 2022

Russia Ukraine Update

by Susan Bonner (feat. Andrew Rasiulis), CBC Radio One, June 28, 2022

Un sommet de l’OTAN pour tenir tête à la Russie

by Marie Vastel (feat. David Perry), Le Devoir, June 26, 2022

A geopolitical alternative system of co-operation for nations

by Staff Reporter (feat. Swaran Singh), The Zimbabwe Mail, June 26, 2022

Analyst says high oil prices spurs little drilling

by Lee Harding (feat. Kevin Birn), Western Standard, June 26, 2022

It’s time for Canada to get serious about defence

by John Ibbitson (feat. James Fergusson and Rob Huebert), The Globe and Mail, June 25, 2022

Trudeau meets with Rwandan president, expands diplomatic mission in Kigali

by CBC Newsroom Staff (feat. Colin Robertson), CBC Newroom, June 24, 2022

With New Threats Looming, Canada Commits Billions to Air Defense

by News Desk (feat. Andrea Charron), New Express News, June 24, 2022

Drop in oil prices is not a quick fix for global inflation

by Editorial Staff (feat. Amrita Sen), The National, June 24, 2022

Highs and Lows of the Spring Sitting

by Peter Van Dusen (feat. Andrew Griffith), Prime Time Politics, June 24, 2022

Oil Incurs Second Weekly Loss As Analysts Differ On Inflation, Demand

by Ship and Bunker News Team (feat. Amrita Sen), Ship And Bunker, June 24, 2022


LATEST TWEETS

HEAD OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 150–9th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3H9

 

OTTAWA OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 5S6

 

Phone: (613) 288-2529
Email: [email protected]
Web: cgai.ca

 

Making sense of our complex world.
Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.

 

© 2002-2022 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001

 


Sign in with Facebook | Sign in with Twitter | Sign in with Email