Defending the grid: A methodical approach to LDC cybersecurity
While no industry is immune to today’s cyber threats, Ontario’s electrical grid and its associated businesses face a unique set of challenges. The interconnected nature of the industry, combined with the emergence of new cyber actors and trends, requires every player to make cybersecurity a priority if the industry hopes to reap the benefits of technological advancements. That is because, in this industry, you’re only as secure as your weakest link.
To encourage all LDCs to climb the ladder of cybersecurity maturity, and better protect the ecosystem as a whole, the Ontario Energy Board introduced the Ontario Cybersecurity Framework (OCSF) in March of 2018. The voluntary framework requires LDCs to complete a self-assessment to determine if they’re at low, medium or high risk of a cyberattack. It also offers high-level advice and resources to help providers enhance their level of cyber preparedness.
While the framework is currently voluntary, the experience of other industries shows that it likely won’t stay that way. It's quite possible mandatory regulations could be implemented in the not-so-distant future.
Regardless, there are still a number of simple steps LDCs can take to assume a more proactive stance by demonstrating their commitment to cybersecurity and defending their organizations, and Ontario’s power grid, from cyber threats.
Understand what perpetrators are after
In today’s ever-changing geopolitical climate, LDCs have become potential trophies for cybercriminals who want to disrupt systems, create chaos and reap personal benefits in the process. As a result, there is a growing trend towards cyberattack campaigns led by special interest groups, terrorists, nation states and hacking groups.