Protecting the electric grid

More than 700 individuals associated with the bulk power grid and other related critical infrastructure participated in a simulation this week designed to test resilience against a major cyber and physical attack.

The simulation comes amid a series of serious cyber attacks that have taken place in the last year, and amid warnings by officials that attacks against critical infrastructure are increasing.

The GridEx simulation, held every two years, is hosted by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) Electric Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC), and is the largest grid security exercise in North America.

The simulation took place in the wake of some of the most difficult years in the cybersecurity space, which have seen threats against every sector increase. Society has also become more reliant on less secure online systems while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manny Cancel, senior vice president at NERC and CEO of the E-ISAC, noted that the threat landscape “has evolved and become very complex,” and that there had been a “ninefold increase in ransomware reports.”