Monday, August 6, 2012

Power Grids Cyber Security In India And Its Challenges

Cyber security issues in India are diverse in nature and they cover a wide variety of areas. Managing cyber security of different areas requires different outlook and extensive expertise. Some areas require tremendous cyber security expertise whereas others require basic level cyber security capabilities. In any case, cyber security capabilities of India must be strengthened so that it can tackle various forms of cyber attacks.

Critical infrastructure protection in India is one area that requires urgent attention of Indian government. Critical infrastructure includes power grids, satellites, defence installations, atomic plants, etc. Most of these critical infrastructures are managed by supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.

SCADA generally refers to industrial control systems (ICS) like computer systems that monitor and control industrial, infrastructure, or facility-based processes. The SCADA systems may involve a human machine interface (HMI), a supervisory system managing the processes, remote terminal units (RTUs) interacting with the supervisory systems, programmable logic controller (PLCs) usable as field devices, etc.

SCADA may be the new cyber attack priority for cyber criminals and rouge nations. We must ensure sufficient cyber protection of SCADA systems in India in general and critical infrastructure in particular.

The recent power blackout in India was massive in nature. Although no hints of a cyber attack upon the critical infrastructure and SCADA system was reported yet this may be a possibility in the future. Further, till now we are not even aware that the recent power outrage was due to poor power infrastructure of India or due to any attack upon the SCADA systems managing the power grids, if any.

India's power minister Veerappa Moily has constituted a three-member panel to investigate last week's massive power failures in the country. Now he has added four additional members, including a cyber-security expert in this panel making it a seven member’s panel. It is obvious that India is also not excluding the cyber attack angle as well and is investigating the possibility of any cyber attacks against the power grids of India.

This is a good decision and Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) welcome the same. We also recommend that cyber security of automated power grids of India must be endured.  We hope for the best in this regard.

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