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Cybersecurity Funding

Energy Department Invests $15 Million in University Cybersecurity Centers 

The US Department of Energy announces $15 million funding for university-based electric power cybersecurity centers.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) on Thursday announced a $15 million investment in university-based electric power centers to bolster cybersecurity in the energy sector.

The funding, the DOE says, will go to six universities selected by the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER), which will partner with industry stakeholders and the DOE National Laboratories for cybersecurity research and training development.

Seeking to reduce the risk of power disruptions in the event of a cyberattack, the selected centers will combine multidisciplinary expertise, such as power system engineering and cybersecurity, to research cybersecurity capabilities tailored to each region’s electricity system, infrastructure, and workforce skills.

As part of the program, the University of Connecticut will develop solutions for isolating and mitigating the effects of cyberattacks on distributed energy resources (DER), to speed up recovery operations.

The Iowa State University will be tasked with improving the resilience of the distribution grid, including DER and microgrids.

Furthermore, the University of Pittsburgh will rely on digital twins to assess the effectiveness of protections against cyberattacks and the impact of compromises.

The Illinois Institute of Technology will focus on resolving DER and microgrid cybersecurity issues and identify ways for system operators to contribute to efficient detection and response.

The Texas Tech University will build a framework to mitigate the stages of a cyber-physical attack, including detection, prevention, recovery, and impact analysis, with a focus on DER integration in rural utilities within Texas.

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Finally, the Florida International University will research how the moving target defense (MTD) technique could prevent cyberattacks by keeping systems hidden, which could prove useful for systems with communications channels that are easily reroutable or switched.

Additionally, the centers will host cybersecurity education programs to train energy professionals on how to protect the sector’s critical infrastructure from cyber threats.

Related: Energy Department Invests $45 Million in 16 Projects to Improve Cybersecurity

Related: Energy Department to Invest $30 Million in Clean Energy Cybersecurity Solutions

Related: Energy Department Offering $70 Million for Security, Resilience Research

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.


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