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U.S. Energy Department Offers $25 Million for Cybersecurity Tech

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) on Monday announced that it’s prepared to award up to $25 million for the research and development of technologies designed to protect the country’s energy infrastructure against cyber threats.

The funding opportunity announcement (FOA) comes from the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability’s Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) program and it seeks applications for researching, developing and demonstrating novel approaches to improving cyber resilient energy delivery systems.Energy Department offers $25 million for cybersecurity

Specifically, the offer is for projects focusing on designing a cyber-resilient architecture for the electric and oil and natural gas (ONG) subsectors, security for the ONG environment, secure communications, secure cloud-based technologies in operational technology (OT) networks, and enhancing security in the energy sector.

Applicants must not only conduct research and develop the products, but also demonstrate them in an actual facility. Proposals, which need to be submitted until June 18, must also include a strategy for transitioning from existing systems either by commercializing the new solution or by making it open source.

“This FOA builds on DOE’s efforts with the private sector toward improving the security of the Nation's critical energy infrastructure, and reducing the risk of a cyber incident that could disrupt energy delivery,” the DOE said. “It will expand the development and adoption of energy technologies that will help ensure a more secure, resilient, and reliable electricity system.”

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As of last year, the DOE said it had invested more than $270 million since 2010 in cybersecurity research, development and demonstration projects led by members of the industry, universities and the agency’s own National Laboratories.

In September 2017, the Energy Department announced its intention to invest $50 million in the research and development of tools and technologies that would make the country’s energy infrastructure more resilient and secure, including more than $20 million in cybersecurity.

Earlier this year, the DOE announced the creation of the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) to help the organization efficiently coordinate preparedness and response to both manmade and natural threats.

Energy facilities in the United States and the Energy Department itself have often been targeted by malicious hackers in the past years, although the attacks have not been as damaging as the ones that hit IranSaudi Arabia and Ukraine

Related: World Economic Forum Announces Global Centre for Cybersecurity

Related: Energy Regulator Acts to Improve Power Grid Security

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.