TCIPG Draws Record Attendance, Star Power to 2013 Summer School

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 4:45am

In June, the Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid (TCIPG) project held its biannual summer school in St. Charles, Ill. 

The event drew a record 173 attendees, who came from academia, industry and government for a week-long course on cybersecurity for energy delivery systems, with a focus on the power grid. The school featured presentations that ranged from foundational to advanced topics in the cybersecurity and resiliency of energy delivery systems.

As the smart grid deployment moves forward, practitioners, system architects, and researchers will need to possess a firm grounding in fundamentals of power grids, as well as the cyber monitoring and control systems inherent to the modern grid, from generation to smart meters and smart appliances in homes. The school seeks to provide students and industry professionals with the opportunity to explore these critical security topics in depth.

“This was a great week of learning about foundational and advanced security issues related to energy delivery systems,” said William H. Sanders, TCIPG director and the interim head of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Illinois. “After the week, we all walked away with a better understanding of what is needed in the future to have a reliable, resilient and secure power grid.”

White House adviser Samara N. Moore, Director for Cybersecurity Critical Infrastructure Protection, delivered the keynote address, discussing the diplomatic and technical challenges in creating cybersecurity policy related to critical infrastructure. “We recognize cyberspace crosses international boundaries,” said Moore, whose job responsibilities include the implementation of the presidential executive order to improve critical infrastructure cybersecurity.

The school also featured presentations by representatives from the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security, which are the funding agencies that sponsor TCIPG.

In addition to the presentations, participants had the opportunity to visit the Ameren portable smart grid training platform, which featured demonstrations of actual smart grid equipment with embedded cyber systems. The school also offered a hands-on assessment lab where participants proceed through a realistic security assessment of a notional utility. The lab was so popular that instructors added an additional session to meet the demand.

TCIPG is tentatively planning to host its next summer school in 2015.

Source: Kim Gudeman, Information Trust Institute