Is Blockchain A Viable Solution To Power Plant Security? US Department Of Energy To Address Cyber attacks

What's The Solution To Power Plant Security? Blockchain Technology To Address Cyberattacks

Energy, as we all know, is the lifeblood for any household, business, and sovereign country, and there's no one more aware of this dynamic than the United States. But while it's aware of this, the US Department of Energy is taking a pro-active step towards cybersecurity for energy production and supply within the country.

Just how exactly it plans to do this is through the use of blockchain technology, putting it to use in the storage and movement of information, as well as having it serve as a safeguard against cyber-attacks in the foreseeable future.

While it's all well and good to discuss the theoretical advantages of technology, the US Department of Energy has already made significant steps to applying it on a national level, thanks to its support of phase II of the Colorado-based electric grid security project spearheaded by Taekion.

In a press release from the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), the DoE, in conjunction with Taekion and NETL, are working to assess the feasibility of blockchain as a cybersecurity measure for energy supply.

“Through this $1 million research effort, Taekion is exploring how blockchain technology can be used in a similar fashion to secure a power plant, where a distributed ledger is kept of all sensor, actuator and device transactions.”

The kind of dangers that cyber attacks pose on energy production and supply are rapidly growing, according to the press release. Especially as the sophistication of these attacks grows increasingly elaborate, as evidenced from the attack and subsequent shutdown of a power plant based in Ukraine in 2016.

“For example, one method of cyber attack involves compromising a system so that it appears operational when it has actually been shut down by the hackers, leaving millions without power […] The applications being developed in the NETL-managed project have the potential to thwart such attacks by preventing hackers from altering the plant’s operational information.”

The Taekion project was made possible thanks to the Department of Energy's Small Business Innovation Research Initiative (SBIR), according to the NETL press release. “Small businesses play a key role in spurring innovation and creating jobs in the U.S. economy.”

Along with the Taekion project, the federal department has since approved approximately $4.8 million in federal funding to universities and small businesses interested in the research of innovative energy solutions as well as R&D projects targeting the same field.

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