Power and Energy


Since the trend of IoT (Internet of Things), energy sectors all over the world have been frequently the main targets for deliberate malware as consequences of planned attacks can highly devastate reliability, serviceability and public trust. One of the recent incidents was the power cut during Christmas season in Ukraine, 2015, followed by a series of cyber attacks to local energy companies. Large parts of the state were under power black-out. This incident revealed that ICS systems today are practically vulnerable to deliberate attacks.

A report released by U.S. Energy Department suggested that the number of cyber attack incidents already reached the “red-alert” level, which also indicates how vulnerable the security is for today’s critical infrastructures. In fact, besides the common targets for hackers such as power plants and manufacturing sites, there was a reported incident in 2016 that a water company in U.S.A experienced data breach.

Nowadays, utility productions, such as oilfield, petroleum refinery, and offshore gas drilling, have become more and more digitalized and connected. Devices deployed such as PLCs, HMIs, SCADA, sensors and embedded computing systems are inter-connected operational technologies (OT) in order to optimize automation and productions. Though digitalization and interconnections of OT devices have increased productivity and outputs for the oil and gas industry, the door is opened to cyber attacks at the same time. As a matter of fact, the numbers of cyber attacks to utility production industries have been rising continuously. According to researches, over 60% utility companies have encountered at least one attack in past years and petroleum industry is listed as one of the most targeted industries for cyber attacks

The manufacturing sector has undergone a rapid evolution since the introduction of advanced, intelligent and connected industrial control systems and factory automations, due to the challenges from globalized competition, frequent changes in raw material costs and newly emerging market demands. Today, it is common to see that major manufacturing plants have adopted a great number of IT and OT technologies, which not only optimize their productiveness, but also enable them with 24/7 real-time visibility and management of their manufacturing environments. In general, this is the generation often referred as Industrial 4.0.

Most of the modern multi-story green buildings come with BAS (building automation system) for smart control of air circulation, water conservation and building climates. That is the reason why BAS-empowered buildings are sometimes referred to “smart buildings”. The BAS is a distributed control system based on computer networking to integrate monitoring and control subsystems, including HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), lighting, fire, security, humidity and other significant factors to reduce energy consumption while maintaining the comforts for the residents.

Smart LED street illumination has been embraced by multiple municipal governments worldwide, as the starting point for IoT-based smart city establishment. Since the street lighting infrastructure already exists, many city planners take smart lighting as the opportunity to enable their IoT foundation by consolidating sensors, wireless communication points and open-interface technologies. Indeed, with the concepts of IoT and 5G technology, connected LED street lighting is a highly efficient choice of illumination in both costs and energy consumption, and also remotely manageable without excessive human control.

Critical infrastructures are constantly encountered with physical security threats due to the increasingly reported incidents. Since these utility providing plants, such as power substation, renewable energy plants, nuclear plants, oil and gas refinery, hydropower dam, water supply facility and other heavy industries, are mostly located in remote areas with vast coverage, real-time monitoring and surveillance for critical infrastructure have become a highly discussed subject to prevent uprising threats such as intruding theft and terrorism.