Government, industry prepare for attacks on electricity sector


By Amy Sarcevic
Tuesday, 05 May, 2020


Government, industry prepare for attacks on electricity sector

Government and industry are now better equipped to respond to cyber attacks against Australia’s electricity sector, thanks to a series of strategy-building exercises held in November 2019.

Run by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), the two-day event served to strengthen a coordinated response by the public and private sectors in the instance of a major attack.

More than 560 professionals from across 32 electricity and government organisations took part in the initiative, which covered themes such as threat detection, communication, incident response management, public messaging and ICT operation.

Recent years have seen an extreme uptick in cyber attacks against critical infrastructure globally. Until now, this has been underscored by a lack of industry preparedness in managing cyber threats.

Given this, Karl Hanmore, the ACSC’s First Assistant Director-General Engagement, Operations and Intelligence, said he was delighted with the level of engagement and commitment from participants.

“This exercise series demonstrated a strong desire by electricity organisations and government agencies to practise and improve our arrangements for responding to significant cyber incidents,” he said.

“Communications, whether it be internally or between organisations, or with the community, are essential during a significant cyber incident.

“The exercise series also helped to strengthen the ACSC’s relationships with the electricity industry, and increase our understanding of the challenges and needs of organisations affected by significant cyber incidents.

One participant said the exercises were a good test of a company’s security incident response process.

“It was invaluable for us to identify strengths and weaknesses in our people and processes, which will enable the company to improve these areas and further strengthen our position in the event of a real cyber event,” the participant said.

Another added, “It highlighted gaps that we must address as an organisation when it comes to coordinating our response and also who, why, when and what we need to communicate.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/yelantsevv

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