German energy company innogy has opened a cybersecurity training centre in Essen, Germany, where electricity grid operators can practice how to fend off hacker attacks. The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) will provide advice and practical support for critical infrastructure operators at the new facility
"WannaCry, NotPetya or Spectre/Meltdown are just some examples of a new type of cyber-attack and IT security incident; at the same time digitalisation is progressing and IT systems are becoming ever more closely interlinked, constantly increasing our dependency on functioning IT systems. This combination of a new quality of attacks and increasing digitalisation lifts the threat levels to unprecedented heights and operators of critical infrastructure in particular need to keep up with those developments,” says BSI President Arne Schönbohm.
Network and IT specialists can practice how to manage cyber-attacks under simulated real-life electricity grid conditions.
Prof Andreas Pinkwart, Minister for Economic Affairs, Digitisation, Innovation and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, says: "Industry in North Rhine-Westphalia, in particular the energy industry with its highly sensitive infrastructure, is facing a unique challenge in terms of protecting data and safeguarding processes and procedures. The economic damage from a cyber-attack arising from production outages, data theft or time-intensive and costly restoration of data can be considerable. It is important that industry, public institutions and the world of science can protect themselves from illegal access to their IT systems. Therefore, I am delighted that the new innogy CyberRange-e provides an opportunity to further sensitise employees to these issues and helps increase the resilience of our companies and public institutions against cyber-attacks."
Innogy has a team of 130 employees working in the group security team working on cybersecurity, information security and data protection. "The human factor is still the weakest link when it comes to fending off cyber-attacks. Businesses must understand that responsibility for system and data security does not exclusively lie with IT experts. They must prepare their employees in comprehensive training sessions. CyberRange-e is our contribution towards the security of critical energy infrastructure", says Uwe Tigges, CEO of innogy SE.